Fiji: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Topics Covered

Welcome to Fiji
Overview of Resources
Metals
Industrial Minerals
Investment
Sources

Welcome to Fiji

Fiji is a country comprising a group of islands that are located in the South Pacific Ocean. The total area of the country is 18,274 km2, and it has a population of 890,057 as of July 2012. The country enjoys tropical marine climate.

The national flag of Fiji.
Image Credit: CIA Factbook.

Fiji gained its independence from the British in 1970. Its population consists of a large number of Indians whose descendents were contract workers brought to the islands by the British. This gave rise to a lot of discord between the native Melanesian population and the Indian community, owing to which, a large majority of Indian population left Fiji in the 1990s. The sudden decrease in population caused a slump in the country’s economy.

In the last decade, the country faced two more coups, leaving the nation in political turmoil. Despite these situations, Fiji is considered as one of the most advanced of the Pacific island economies. The GDP of this island nation was $4.153 billion in 2011.

The natural resources of Fiji include gold and copper. The nation also has offshore oil potential. The mining sector is an important part of the country’s economy; however, sugar and tourism are its chief revenue generating industries.

Overview of Resources

In 2010, Fiji’s mineral industry chiefly produced cement, gold, and silver. It was also involved in offshore oil exploration activities. Gold is the country’s second most valuable export.

Based on the reports from the Fiji Islands Bureau of Statistics, the output volume of the mining and quarrying sector in 2010 increased from that of the previous year.

The map of Fiji. Image Credit: CIA Factbook

Metals

Fiji’s chief gold and silver producing mine is the Vatukoula gold mine, which is 100% owned by Vatukoula Gold Mines plc. (VGM), a British gold and silver mining company. In 2010, the company claimed that the mine had proven and probable reserves of 26,000 kg of gold. According to the annual reports of the company, this year the company has been working on long-term cost effective sustainable gold production so as to achieve a target of 100,000 ounce gold per annum despite the heavy rains that deterred progress in the beginning of 2012.

In the same year, Japan’s Nittetsu Mining Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. announced that high-grade copper reserves were located at their Namosi project. Newcrest Mining Ltd. of Australia was involved in drilling and exploration of a near-surface copper-gold porphyry system at the Waivaka West area. The company claimed that they found proof of mineralization.

Industrial Minerals

The demand for cement in Fiji was high in 2010 as both private sector construction work and government-funded construction work were in full swing.

Fiji Industries Ltd. (FIL), the country only cement producer, has been monopolizing the market for several years. The company produced portland cement and blended cement for the domestic market as well for export purposes. In order to curb the monopolization, the government granted Chinese Tengy Cement Co. Ltd. a 99-year industrial lease on 33 acres of land to build the country’s second cement plant.

Investment

According to experts, Fiji’s gold and cement industries will continue to have a steady progress in the coming years with a new cement plant being constructed and gold demand increasing especially in India and China.

The Mineral Resources Department is the National Geological Survey and Mining Organization of Fiji. The following are some of its activities:

  • Providing geo-scientific information about Fiji
  • Developing mining policies
  • Providing clear and transparent information to investors in the mining sector
  • Facilitating and regulating exploration of the mineral and petroleum resources of the country
  • Ensuring safety procedures are followed and health of people and environment are protected.

With proper facilities in place, Fiji’s economy is set to grow in a stable manner, which is conducive for investors and the future of the mining sector.

Disclaimer: The Author of this article does not imply any investment recommendation and some content is speculative in nature. The Author is not affiliated in any way with any companies mentioned and all statistical information is publically available.

Sources

http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/country/2010/myb3-2010-fj.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/fj.html

http://www.vgmplc.com/

G.P. Thomas

Written by

G.P. Thomas

Gary graduated from the University of Manchester with a first-class honours degree in Geochemistry and a Masters in Earth Sciences. After working in the Australian mining industry, Gary decided to hang up his geology boots and turn his hand to writing. When he isn't developing topical and informative content, Gary can usually be found playing his beloved guitar, or watching Aston Villa FC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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