Lion One Metals, a Canadian mining company, has achieved first gold pour at its Tuvatu Alkaline gold project in Fiji.
Construction of the Tuvatu Mine is said to have been completed ahead of schedule.
Mill construction started in August 2022 and commissioning took place last month. A ceremonial first gold pour was done at the site.
By the end of this month, the company plans to increase production from the mill to 300 tonnes per day (tpd). By mid-2024, this could grow to 500tpd.
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Lion One Metals chairman and CEO Walter Berukoff said: “The first gold pour at Tuvatu is a landmark event in the history of our company. We have successfully transitioned from explorer to producer and have delivered on our promise to build the South Pacific’s newest gold mine in the heart of Fiji.
Berukoff continued: “Completing construction ahead of schedule is a testament to the strength of their efforts and to the resilience of the Fijian spirit. This marks the beginning of our next phase of growth as we look forward to ramping up to commercial production at Tuvatu and to advancing our many other top-quality prospects throughout the Navilawa Caldera.”
The Tuvatu gold mine is reputed to be a world-class geological anomaly, with significantly high-grade gold potential across the mine lease and exploration licence area, which covers around 136km².
The mine is close to Nadi international airport, Port Denaru and Lautoka deep-water port.
It is located 35km from Vatukoula gold mine, which has produced more than seven million ounces of gold over the past 87 years.
Besides, it has eight drill rigs and a 12,000 assay lab monthly sampling capacity. The company has renewed and extended its special mining licence until 2035.
Samples from the Tuvatu project have returned values of 20.86 grams per tonne (g/t) gold (Au) over 75.90m and 12.22g/t Au over 54.90m.