“Tranquillity” is a word that easily comes to mind on Fiji, the island country sitting almost 3,000 kilometres away from its nearest continent Australia. An ever-growing number of visitors are feeling the allure of its white sandy beaches and coral reefs, making tourism a key driver in Fiji’s economy today, along with agriculture and fishing.
Fiji has also been blessed with wealthy mineral resources, with gold and silver representing some of the country’s largest exports. So-called Development Minerals – minerals mined, processed, and used locally in construction, infrastructure, and agriculture – also play an important part in Fiji’s growing economy. This year, the very first Fiji Development Minerals Trade Fair and Conference was held in Suva, the capital city of the republic. The event, hosted by UNDP (United Nations Development Program) and MRD (Mineral Resources Department of Fiji), also helped Robit add a new dot on its global business map.
“It was a great opportunity to network, meet key players in the Development Minerals industry and get a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing Fiji’s Development Minerals market”, says Technical Sales Representative Richard Epstein, Robit Australia.
“Fiji is diversifying its economy and improving its civil infrastructure, which should have a positive impact on the quarrying and civil construction industries. This means there is an opportunity to gain a strong foothold in the market. To that end, we are partnering with Vinod Patel, Fiji’s largest hardware and construction materials company to help establish our presence in the market and provide much needed local support”, Richard explains.
Richard also visited the Vatukoula Gold Mine, the largest and oldest mine in Fiji. It has been operating for over 75 years and has produced over 7 million ounces (approx. 200,000 kg) of gold during this time. “Vatukoula spends about half a million euros per year on Top Hammer drilling consumables, but this is likely to increase in coming years as they have plans to expand development of the mine and double production”, Richard says.
“Robit’s threaded jumbo bits were tested underground at Vatukoula, with promising results. A new gold mine, Lion One, is due to come on line in 2019. Add to that our partnership with Vinod Patel and the contacts we have established through them with key players in the quarrying and extractive industries, and we should be well positioned for future opportunities in Fiji.”