Offshore Sand mining as an alternative to Beach sands has begun from off Fafaa Island
Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 02/02/2017
It is vital to keep our beaches beautiful and clean with its natural resources such as the sand.
It is one of the core reasons why the Government initiated the idea to end sand mining on local beaches but to get sand from the sea North West of the island of Fafaa.
Government’s Geologist – Taniela Kula said there’s hope the sand from Fafaa will help with the major construction projects.
This is a licensed area and a study has indicated it is safe for sand mining with 1 to 2 kilometers from Fafaa Island’s reefs.
This location is about 15 -18 metres deep where sea currents sweep sand from surrounding areas, accumulating the deposits for years.
Government is optimistic there are more positive impacts than negative on the environment from carrying out this project.
Taniela added the vessel mining the sand in this area can produce TOP$1,000 cubic metres a day.
The sand in this off shore location has a capacity of 4 million cubic metres
About 70 thousand cubic metres of sand is needed annually for construction and development purposes.
For every shipment of sand the Government collects TOP$7,000 from Tonga’s Natural Resources.
Meanwhile Environmentalists are concerned over the salt contents of the sand from the ocean compared to beach sands as this will have negative impacts on construction of buildings.
Taniela said the choice is the Builders and Architects to choose the sand to use. But the alternative location was sought by government because of damage to the beaches for unwise mining practices and removal of the armies of the beach from protection of land from sea erosion.
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