Nauru is another Pacific island country where phosphate mining wreaked environmental havoc. [AFP]
Last Updated: 36 minutes ago RADIO AUSTRALIA NEWS - Melbourne Australia
People forced from Ocean Island - or Banaba - in the Republic of Kiribati, by phosphate works have received a glimmer of hope about an eventual return home.
At present, some of the Banaban people of Ocean Island are living on Rabi Island, off the north-east of Fiji's second largest island, Vanua Levu.
Others are in Kiribati.
They have a chance to return to Ocean Island when rehabilitation work is completed.
Phosphate extraction by European companies in the early 1900s ruined 90 percent of Ocean Island, forcing the native Banaban to relocate to Kiribati and Rabi Island.
Now Australian-based economist Peter Crowly is working closely with the Rabi Island Council and other parties concerned to try to get Ocean Island back to a healthy state.
Mr Crowly says old buildings and tanks that are polluting the environment need to be removed.
The island's fertility also has to be revived, so that people can plant food.
A source of water also has to be established.
The project, which will cost $50 million, is expected to take 20 years to complete.
**More information on Banaban Rehabilitation coming soon through BANABAN VISION...**