2 March, 2019, 10:50 am
A SUBSTANCE believed to be oil was discovered by villagers of Nawaqabena in Naitasiri in January.
The substance which was first discovered by village children during one of their swimming expeditions is now being analysed by the University of the South Pacific’s Institute of Applied Science.
Villager Suliasi Sisiwaca said he was informed about the discovery soon after the children returned from the site.
“The site where the substance was discovered is close to the village swimming spot and the children had noticed an oil runoff in the water while swimming,” he said.
“After following the runoff, we noticed the oil-like substance was slowly seeping out from the soil. We quickly collected samples and brought it to the village.
“The substance is clear just like water and has a crude oil smell.
“We informed the Department of Mineral Resources about the find and they took the sample to be analysed. Now we’re waiting for the result.”
Department of Mineral Resources director Apete Soro said the department was informed about the discovery and had received a sample from the village on February 1.
“The department has sent the sample to USP’s Institute of Applied Science for analysis and we are still waiting for the analysis results on the sample content to be confirmed,” Mr Soro said.
“It can only be determined once the analysis results are received.
“If the sample is confirmed to contain hydrocarbon, then the department would be required to carry out further studies to explore the extent of the discovery through third party or private oil exploration company.”