New $10Mil Vatukoula Shaft Ready Next Year

The two cable drums used in the construction of the new Dolphin Shaft. Photo: Charles Chambers

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.”

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