Initial mining has begun at the Cayzer-Prince ore body at Vatukoula Gold’s underground mine on Fiji’s Viti Levu Island where the company expects to annually produce up to 100,000 tonnes of gold.

In the three months ending February 28, 2013, 89,341 tonnes of ore were mined at the site with 103,916 tonnes of ore processed for 8861 ounces of gold.

Vatukoula’s chief executive officer David Paxton says “Our recent heavy investment in capital development opened up access to the high-grade Cayzer-Prince ore body. Currently we are carrying out limited mining from this ore body which has been reflected in an increase in grade coming from the Phillip shaft of 6.9 grams/tonne compared to the previous six months which yielded 5.3 grams/tonne gold.”

The company has received independent due diligence that confirms its long-term production targets are achievable and the mine development strategy is sound.

Vatukoula is also negotiating with several companies regarding investment in a US$30-$40 million expansion program at the site, which has been historically mined during the past 70 years, producing about 7 million ounces of gold and 2 million ounces of silver in that time. There is established infrastructure including an independent power station, assay labs and workshops, at the mine site.