With projects in Queensland and New South Wales under way, Alice Queen (ASX: AQX) has picked up two gold projects in Fiji — one including a historic mine that produced at an average of 13 grams per tonne, the other a greenfield target with earlier gold hits.
The projects are on two of the country’s larger islands, with Fiji having a long history of gold mining.
The company has had a team on the ground in Fiji for over two years to secure these assets.
Fiji sits on the “Rim of Fire” that is host to many gold deposits, with the gold mined being a major export for the country.
While the yellow metal was first discovered there in 1868, large-scale commercial mining began only in 1935 when the Vatukoula mine was brought into production and has produced more than 7 million ounces of gold over its life.
Alice Queen’s existing Australian projects are at Horn Island off the north of Queensland (gold) and Boda East in NSW (copper-gold).
Proven gold at both projects
The first of Alice Queen’s newly acquired projects is Nabila, located 40km from Nadi on Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island.
It includes the Faddy’s prospect as well as the historic Mistry mine, which produced 746oz of gold from 1,720t mined at an average grade of 13g/t. The mine closed in 1958.
Past exploration has been carried out by the famed Fijian gold producer Emperor Mines (which was listed on the ASX from 1972 until 2008), Geopacific Resources (ASX: GPR) and two other companies.
This earlier work outlined several prospects along a 2km anomalous zone between Faddy’s prospect and the Mistry mine.
The other new project, Viani, is on the second largest island, Vanua Levu, where exploration occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.
All of the six shallow diamond drill holes drilled back then intersected vein structures at less than 150m down hole and each returned positive gold assays.
Further value for shareholders
Alice Queen managing director Andrew Buxton said the company has assembled a “fabulous” technical team, including John Holliday, who was involved in acquiring the Namosi project on Viti Levu for Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) with its 1.3 billion tonne resource for a contained 4.6 million tonnes of copper and 4.6Moz of gold.
The corporate team is headed by local businessman, John Sanday, who was also in the Fiji rugby team for the 1987 Rugby World Cup competition.
Mr Buxton said Mr Sanday is well known in Fiji and held in high regard by both local landowners and government officials.
He said the Horn Island joint venture with St Barbara (ASX: SBM) is progressing well with a scoping study now under way to assess the project’s economics.
“We believe the company is perfectly positioned to take advantage of these highly prospective Fiji assets and create further value for shareholders,” Mr Buxton said.