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Let’s Go Local: Nadarivatu Hills Top Vatukoula’s Peace For Miner Fonmanu

A Suva-born miner who has made Vatukoula his home has no designs to retire to the capital city when he hangs his boots. Onisimo Fonmanu is in charge of safety,
18 Nov 2021 10:15
Let’s Go Local: Nadarivatu Hills Top Vatukoula’s Peace For Miner Fonmanu
Nadarivatu Hills with the inserted image of Onisimo Fonmanu.

A Suva-born miner who has made Vatukoula his home has no designs to retire to the capital city when he hangs his boots.

Onisimo Fonmanu is in charge of safety, training and rescue services at Vatukoula Gold Mines.

His work covers an underground area spanning an estimated 20 square kilometres of operation – or 4000-plus acres.

 

“In Vatukoula, there are 20 to 30 working areas all operating around the clock,” Mr Fonmanu said.

“The mines never sleep.”

He is one of 10 successful managers of the mine’s inaugural management cadet scheme that was introduced in 1997.

 

Mr Fonmanu is one of six managers of the scheme who still serve the mines.

The other four who lasted the rigorous managerial training scheme serve in other areas of the mineral resource sector in Fiji, and New Zealand.

Mr Fonmanu’s life is built around his work.

“I enjoy rolling with the punches and going with the flow – particularly as there is so much work to do daily,” he said.

 

Vatukoula Gold Mines in Tavua. Photo: Leon Lord.

Vatukoula Gold Mines in Tavua. Photo: Leon Lord.

What Is One Place In Fiji You Would Take Visitors To, And Why?
Vatukoula, home to Fiji’s oldest operating gold mine.

The serene scenery matches the pace and peace of the place.

 

What Is Your Favourite Spot For Coffee/Pie, And why?
Sitting on the veranda at home, on the farm at Malele, looking up at the Nadarivatu Hills.

You watch the same view every day, but with a different perspective, and a growing appreciation for life, for nature, and for family.

It’s humbling.

 

What Is Your Favourite Backyard Spot, And Why?
Vatukoula Gold Mines is my second home, a place where I draw a certain depth of peace and security that comes with the place.

I can’t live without the daily challenges of the job that arise every day of the year.

The mine never sleeps.

It operates 24/7, all year around.

 

Southern Lau Islands

Southern Lau Islands

What Is One Place In Fiji On Your Bucket List, And Why?
Lau.

I’d get on a boat and just go.

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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