Fiji: Sand, Worth it's Weight in Gold






Fiji announced herself on the world stage with an emphatic gold medal win in the 7s Rugby at the 2016 Olympic games. This widely celebrated win (which coincided with Fiji's National Consultation Workshop on Development Minerals) brought smiles to the faces of all Fijians, who are still re-building in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston's devastation early in the year.

Demand for sand, gravel and marl has skyrocketed in Fiji as a result of natural disasters, such as Cyclone Winston, and a tenfold increase in road funding over the past decade, doubling the number of the nation's quarries.

The National Consultation Workshop, held between 10-12 August in Suva, gathered together around 50 key stakeholders to chart the way forward for the country-level implementation of the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme. Opening remarks made by Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa, Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources were followed by addresses by Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant Secretary-General, ACP Group of States (by pre-recorded video); Mr. Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation - European Union Head of Delegation Representative; and Mr Bakhodir Burkhanov, UNDP Country Director, Fiji.



Photo: Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa (centre), Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, receives a reference text on industrial minerals from Mr Cristoph Wagner (left), Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation for the Pacific and Mr Bakhodir Burkhanov (right), UNDP Country Director, to signify the opening of the Fiji National Consultation Workshop of the ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme, 10th August, 2016.


Photo on the top: Photo: Sharmila Sanehi welcomes attendees of the Fiji National Consultation Workshop to her river dredge operations on the Rewa River.

ACP-EU Development Minerals Programme

‘Development Minerals’ are minerals and materials that are mined, processed, manufactured and used domestically in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and agriculture.

Development Minerals are economically important close to the location where the commodity is mined. They include industrial minerals, construction materials, dimension stones and semi-precious stones.

  • Africa

    The African Union Commission has called member states to prioritize 'Development Minerals' as part of Africa's industrialization agenda. Find out more about our twenty-eight participating countries and four focus countries in Africa.

    All about this region

  • Caribbean

    "Development Minerals" underpin the construction and tourism sectors in the Caribbean. Find out more about our six participating countries and one focus country in the region.

    All about this region

  • Pacific

    The Pacific is literally built on sand. Find out more about our six participating countries and one focus country in the region.

    All about this region


East Africa

Population growth is creating a huge demand for housing and infrastructure, as well as the Development Minerals needed for the construction industry.


West Africa

Guinea-Conakry is one of the world's top bauxite producers, but it also has the potential to realise opportunities from the mining of Development Minerals.


Southern Africa

Zambia is paving more than 2000 km of roads with locally sourced pavers and cobblestones and in the process is creating tens of thousands of jobs.


Central Africa

The Government of Cameroon requires contracting authorities to incorporate local materials in the construction of public buildings.



Ancient coral, long ago compressed into limestone under the weight of mud, sand and yet more coral, accounts for 65% of the Jamaican island by weight, and 85% of its surface coverage.



Of the 68 active mineral extraction sites in Fiji, 66 mine Development Minerals.

Participating Countries

Forty (40) countries are participating in regional level training and knowledge exchange. Find out which ones.

[Africa] [Caribbean] [Pacific]

Focus Countries

Six (6) countries are undertaking in depth capacity building and country level training.

What are Development Minerals?

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