Vatukoula (meaning “gold rock” in Fijian) is an underground gold mine located on the main island Viti Levu in Fiji, operated by Vatukoula Gold Mines PTE Limited (“VGML”). The mine has produced more than 7 million ounces of gold over the last 85+ years. Gold reserves at Vatukoula occur in more than 25 current ore bodies and historically many other high grade mineralized structures were mined, with production rates of 75,000–100,000 ounces per year.
Vatukoula currently operates a 1,550 tonne per day processing plant. Underground ore is subject to three-stage crushing, a ball mill, and flotation prior to roasting and leaching to a gold recovery circuit. Tailings are also re-processed via a thickener, leach tanks and a gold recovery circuit.
VGML has identified underground reserves* (proven and probable) of 580,000 ounces of gold contained in 3.5 million tonnes (“Mt”) at a grade of 5.2 grams per tonne (“g/t”) gold (cut-off grade of 3.43 g/t gold, effective December 31, 2020). Reports also identify measured and indicated underground inclusive resources of 1,050,000 ounces of gold contained in 4.3 Mt at a grade of 7.55 g/t gold and inferred underground resources of 290,000 ounces of gold contained in 1.8 Mt at a grade of 5.0 g/t gold. These resource estimates were calculated using a cut-off grade based on the product of multiplying the intercept width by the gold grade, with a minimum of 4.0 gram-metres per tonne with at least one assay greater than 2.0 g/t.
More recently, annual mine production has averaged 30,000–40,000 ounces per year. Management believes the property has significant growth potential based on optimizing current reserves and operations, expanding known deposits with increased drilling, and exploring new target areas within the current mine workings and areas immediately adjacent. VGML plans to expand underground operations with a production target of 50,000–70,000 ounces per year in the next 3–5 years.
*The mineral reserves and resources at the Vatukoula mine are based on historical estimates and are not considered current according to NI 43-101. A qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral reserves or mineral resources. For more information regarding the Vatukoula mine mineral reserve and resource estimates, please see Sandstorm’s press release dated June 29, 2021.