Minister Clarifies Land Ownership, Mineral Royalties


The Nasomo Landowners Trust are the rightful owners of Tovatova, the block of land from which they receive mineral royalties in Vatukoula.

This was reiterated by Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Ashneel Sudhakar, who has received numerous queries on the ownership of the land, over the past few months.

“It’s pertinent for me to clear the air and to tell everybody that this land belongs to Nasomo,” Minister Sudhakar said at the Nasomo Community Hall in Vatukoula.

“Rightfully, the owners of this land is Nasomo, nobody else. It’s a question that’s been asked a lot but today I’d like to make it very clear that you people are the owners of this land. Full stop.”

The land was originally owned by John Berry and sold as Freehold to the Colonial Sugar Refinery (CSR) Company. The land was transferred to the Government upon the closure of CSR’s operations.

Nasomo mine workers who settled in the area in the 1950s and 1960s purchased the land via the iTaukei Land Trust Board (formerly known as the Native Land Trust Board).

“In 1963, a Government surveyor by the name of A W Baygrey surveyed this Nasomo land and in 1964, Nasomo settlers made their first payment as instalment. In 1965, NLTB was declared the proprietor or trustee of Nasomo land under Certificate of Title (CT) Grant No. 1144, and the total land area is 1062 acres.”

“In June 1974, the land was paid in full and then on the 19th November 1998, the land was formally transferred to the Nasomo Landowners Trust.”

“It’s on the registered title. As such, the legal owners of Nasomo land, otherwise known as “Tova Tova” back block (part of) with an area of 1062 acres are the members of the Nasomo Landowners Trust, who worked so hard to raise funds to be able to fully purchase this land.”

Minister Sudhakar also noted that despite being long-time landowners, it was not until the Fair Share of Mineral Royalties Act by the Bainimarama Government that Trust members could benefit from minerals under their land.