Friday, 10 December 2021, Kingdom of Tonga: Their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u visited a building site to view the foundations of what shall be the first house to be constructed locally using imported Ferronickel slag from New Caledonia as alternative to sand. The latter is deemed as a promising alternative in the production of green concrete for structural applications.
The three-bedroom house is currently being built in the township of Fangaloto under the aegis of the Royal Lalanga Fononga Foundation.
Diplomat Viliami Lolohea discovered the alternative material based out of Ferronickel in 2016 when he attended a workshop in New Caledonia on the impact of natural disasters such as flooding, and sand erosion on most Pacific Island countries. He was astounded to realise that New Caledonia was making bricks with slag. The depletion of sand in Tonga became a major concern in 2016 with increasing demands for sand for customary burials, for buildings and road construction, and with increasing erosion throughout the isles.
Lolohea also set up the ‘Royal Lalanga Fononga Foundation’, registered in Cyprus, with himself as president and an international board, including Joseph Borghese (Honorary Consul of Tonga in Cyprus), Bart Doornbos (Netherlands), Pelenise Alofa (Kiribati) and Aliena Lolohea (The Netherlands/Tonga), and Henri Estramant (Germany).
The Royal Lalanga Fononga means ‘The Weaving of Our Journey’ in English, and describes itself as “an international NGO for the South Pacific”. It made their first order of 40 tons of ferronickel slag from New Caledonia last year. The foundation is in the process of applying for funds in order to to finance a study as to the feasibility to providing slag as a substitute for sand for climate change adaptation and community projects.
For further information
From Extraction to Regeneration: The Tongan Solution to Global Sustainability:https://diplomatmagazine.eu/2020/12/19/from-extraction-to-regeneration-the-tongan-solution-to-global-sustainability/
Images courtesy of NGO “Royal Lalanga Fononga (“The Weaving of Our Journey”) – First Secretary Viliami Lolohea, High Commission of Tonga to the United Kingdom, non-resident embassy to Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Denmark, the Russian Federation, the European Union, etc.