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Minister Jone Usamate Visits Gold Mine

Vatukoula Gold Mines Limited and Amex Resources Limited are the only two mining companies that are in full operation, says Minister for Mineral Resources Jone Usamate. Visiting the Vatukoula Gold
09 Apr 2021 11:37
Minister Jone Usamate Visits Gold Mine
Minister for Mineral Resources Jone Usamate underground at Vatukoula.

Vatukoula Gold Mines Limited and Amex Resources Limited are the only two mining companies that are in full operation, says Minister for Mineral Resources Jone Usamate.

Visiting the Vatukoula Gold Mines yesterday, Mr Usamate said he noticed how critical this company was to the people who work for the mines.

He said: “In terms of salaries alone, they spend $2 million a month and another $2 million on fuel.

That is $4 million dollars.

“There is a large area of people from  that are employed by this mining company alone.”

Mr Usamate also had the opportunity to visit one of the company’s biggest investments, the Dolphin shaft.

The more than $10 million investment is expected to be completed by June.

Minister for Mineral Resources, Jone Usamate, with Director Mineral Resources, Raymond Mohammed underground at Vatukoula.

Minister for Mineral Resources, Jone Usamate, with Director Mineral Resources, Raymond Mohammed underground at Vatukoula.

 

Dolphin Shaft
The new 700 metres deep Dolphin shaft is being constructed with the main aim of providing better ventilation for the mine’s Philip Shaft.

This will be the first such shaft sunk at Vatukoula since the Philip Shaft was constructed by the former Joint Venture between Emperor Gold Mining and Western Mining in the mid 1980s.

The project, besides being planned to improve ventilation and working conditions for the Philip Shaft,will also see the opening of new areas for mining.

The shaft then was only about five levels deep which was around 160 metres.

With the new shaft expected to be around 700 metres deep, the company has hired expert contractors from China to carry out the project.

The shaft’s main purpose would be like that of an exhaust ventilator.

This investment was set in place to hopefully help double their productivity.

The minister said another reason for the visit was to see how the Government could help the mining industry by listening to the team on ground.

“Vatukoula is old, and it comes with its challenges. One of their biggest challenges is power. Now they are running off massive generators. They need adequate power. Vatukoula has another generator expected to arrive in a month and with other plans in place to help with that.”

“As the Minister for Mineral Resources I need to know how well these sectors are doing. Although we are still trying to recover from the pandemic the mining industry is still in full operation.”

Mr Usamate said mining is a sector that can be very risky for investment.

“Some companies throw billions of dollars and have yet to make any money back. But we still want to make sure that all these companies are living by the rules and guidelines.”

“We monitor them and make sure they are following safety guidelines. That the landowners are receiving their royalties and the environment is not in any harm.”

He said he was hoping that Canadian miner Lion One’s Tuvatu site in Sabeto will take off soon, so it could contribute to creating employment for those living in Nadi and Lautoka.

“The Government does not have an endless bottomless pit of money and we hope this will help the economy.”

The minister said they would soon announce who the next exploration will be awarded to for Mount Kasi in Vanua Levu.

 

Feedback: susana.tuilau@fijisun.com.fj



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