MINING IN FIJI
Fiji’s economy heavily relies on the mining industry, with gold production being one of its major exports. The country’s mining sector mainly focuses on producing gold, silver, and cement. The islands of Fiji are located on the Pacific Rim of Fire, which is known for its high mineral potential and hosts several world-class porphyry copper-gold and epithermal gold deposits.
Recent exploration in the young volcanic terranes of the circum-Pacific region, particularly Fiji, has led to a better understanding of the relationship between gold and copper deposits and high-level magmatism. As a result, there have been major discoveries such as Porgera and Lihir Island in Papua New Guinea, Hishikari in Japan, Kelian in Indonesia, and the redevelopment of epithermal deposits such as Waihi and Golden Cross in New Zealand.
The Emperor Gold Mine, owned by Vatukoula Gold Mines, dominates Fiji’s gold production. The mine has been in operation since 1935 and has produced over 7 Moz of gold, with remaining resources of just under 5 Moz of gold. Newcrest, a major mining company, manages and owns 69.94% of the Namosi Joint Venture, which is considered one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits.
The Fijian government is supportive of the mining industry and offers reasonable royalty and taxation structures, as well as negotiable taxation concessions to foster economic development. The Ministry of Lands, Mineral Resources and Environment is the main government agency that implements Fiji’s mineral development policies. The Mineral Resources Department under the ministry develops mining policies and provides geological information to assist mining sector investors and facilitate the exploration and development of mineral and petroleum resources in the country.
Exploration licenses are granted for gold, base metals, bauxite, limestone/marble, aggregate, petroleum and natural gas, and geothermal heat. The government’s procedures for gaining land access for mineral exploration and development are among the most favorable in the South West Pacific, according to a review by the United States Trade and Development Program.