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Geoff Tay­lor, of Savusavu, is among the few ex­plo­ration ge­ol­o­gists still around who worked at Mount Kasi gold mine in Vanua Levu.

The 70-year-old well-known fig­ure of the hid­den par­adise, had worked with dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies while ex­plor­ing gold for 50 years.

Mr Tay­lor is to­day a mem­ber of the Savusavu Tourism As­so­ci­a­tion, and part­ner in the pop­u­lar Co­pra Shed. But he knows the min­ing area like the back of his hand.

First ex­pe­di­tion

“An­glo Pa­cific Ex­plo­ration was the first gold min­ing com­pany,” he said. Then New­mont en­tered the min­ing scene in a joint ven­ture with An­glo Pa­cific, Mr Tay­lor said.

“From 1932 to 1946, about 60,000 ounces of gold was mined,” he re­called.

“The mine closed as fuel and sup­plies be­came dif­fi­cult to ob­tain fol­low­ing the sec­ond world war.”

He said fur­ther ex­plo­ration was car­ried out from 1978 un­til 1997 when more gold was dis­cov­ered in the vicin­ity.

Range Re­sources, Pa­cific Is­lands Gold, shared a joint ven­ture with Bur­dekin in 1997 to re­open the mine, he said.

He said: “60,000 ounces of gold were mined 20 me­tres be­low the sur­face.”

The com­pany, Pa­cific Is­lands Gold, which was in a joint ven­ture with Bur­dekin in 1997, faced cash flow prob­lems.

Un­able to raise funds - to con­vert the plant to mine the harder ore that re­mained - the mine closed in 1998. The Fi­jian Govern­ment had re­cently ad­ver­tised for in­ter­ested par­ties to sub­mit ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est for the pro­posal for ex­plo­ration and pos­si­ble de­vel­op­ment of the Mount Kasi Min­eral Prospect.

Be­low the sur­face

Mr Tay­lor now be­lieves an es­ti­mated 300,000 ounce of gold re­main to be mined, with the right equip­ment and fi­nanc­ing.

“This would mean a lot of peo­ple will get em­ploy­ment as the pan­demic doesn’t af­fect min­ing,” Mr Tay­lor said.

“Se­condly, landown­ers would get con­tract ben­e­fits by means of pro­vid­ing trans­port to the mine, food sup­plies, and ar­rang­ing se­cu­rity of­fi­cers.”

Mr Tay­lor said 80 per cent of royalty was now given to landown­ers with the re­main­ing 20 per cent to the Govern­ment.

“I hope the pro­fes­sional work­ers come by boat so that Savusavu’s wa­ter­front could ben­e­fit,” he said.

He said the proven re­source goes to about 80 me­tres be­low the sur­face.

■ To­mor­row: MT KASI TO­DAY

The Mount Kasi mine in 1997. In­set: Geoff Tay­lor to­day.

Geoff Tay­lor at Mount Kasi mine with the first gold pro­duced in 1997.

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