Site preparation is well under way, official groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place on May 8.
Charles Chambers | Fiji Sun | 29 April 2018
A new ventilation and haulage shaft is under construction by Vatukoula Gold Mines.
With an investment of $10 million it is expected to be completed early next year.
The new 700 metres deep Dolphin shaft is being constructed with the main aim of providing better ventilation for the mine’s Philip Shaft.
This will be the first such shaft sunk at Vatukoula since the Philip Shaft was constructed by the former Joint Venture between Emperor Gold Mining and Western Mining in the mid 1980s.
The project, besides being planned to improve ventilation and working conditions for the Philip Shaft, will also see the opening up of new areas for mining.
Although site preparation is well under way, the official groundbreaking ceremony is expected to take place on May 8.
The company’s Surface Project Manager, Onisimo Fonmanu, said the site was also where an old shaft was in the 1980’s.
“The shaft then was only about five levels deep which was around 160 metres.”
With the new shaft expected to be around 700 metres deep, the company has hired expert contractors from China to carry out the project.
The shaft main purpose would be similar to that of an exhaust ventilator.
Mr Fonmanu said: “The Philip shaft needs more air flow than what it currently has.
“This project is aimed at rectifying that,” Mr Fonamanu said.
A tunnel will be dug from the Philip shaft to join with the Dolphin shaft and this new line will be used to suck the air out of Philip Shaft.
“Once it does this then the airflow will be much better and it would also be cooler too for the workers who work there.”
Mr Fonmanu said the work presently being carried out at Dolphin shaft was a term called ‘shaft sinking.’
The work had to be done carefully as while the shaft was getting deeper, they had to be careful of the sides not caving in.
“It is a project which has to be done carefully as we have people who will be working below as the shaft deepens.”