Mining is an integral part of Fiji’s economy, with gold representing one of the country’s largest exports. Its major mining activities are focused on the production of gold, silver and cement.
The islands of Fiji are located on the Pacific “Rim of Fire”, the active tectonic boundary between the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plate which is known to host several major world-class porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold deposits.
The increase in metal prices and a better understanding of the relationship between gold and copper deposits and high level magmatism has focused recent exploration on young volcanic terranes of the circum-Pacific region, in particular Fiji.
Extensive gold copper mineralisation occurs throughout the Pacific Rim, which stretches from New Zealand northwards to Fiji, then to Papua New Guinea and branches out through the Philippines and the Indonesian Islands. Recently there have been a number of major discoveries including Porgera and Lihir Island, PNG, Hishikari in Japan, Kelian in Indonesia, in addition to the redevelopment of epithermal deposits mined earlier last century such as Waihi and Golden Cross in New Zealand.
Gold production in Fiji is dominated by the Emperor Gold Mine, owned by AIM listed Vatukoula Gold Mines, which has been in near continuous production since 1935, with a past production of over 7 Moz of gold and current resources of just under 5 Moz gold.
Major mining house, Newcrest, manages and owns 69.94% of the Namosi Joint Venture, which is considered to be one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits (approximately 52 Moz gold equivalent), which is currently subject to an Environmental Impact Study.
Other Fijian deposits of significance include the Mt Kasi Gold Mine, which is subject to plans to recommence production, the Tuvatu Gold Mine and the Cirianui and Dakunimba gold deposits, currently under exploration.