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Win – Win” situation between landowners, government and the mining industry in the South Pacific

Project Leader: Dr Holger Sommer

Team Members: Prof. Dr. Klaus Regenauer-Lieb (UNSW)
Prof. Elisabeth Holland (PACE-SD)
Prof. Bibhya Sharma (USP)
Dr Sushil Kumar (USP)
Dr. John Lowry (USP)
Dr. Jeremy Hills (USP)
Prof. Mike Petterson (SPC Geoscience Division, Suva, Fiji)
Selina Leo (SLS Resource Group, Fiji)
Neil Kumar (USP)
Numerous postgraduate and BSc and MSc students from the University of the South Pacific

Funding:FJD $50K

Duration: 1st of Nov 2015 – 31st Oct 2018

Overview of Project

Gold and Copper ore deposits are very common in the South Pacific region and are of high economic interest. Yet from a societal aspect they normally return very little to the important infrastructure of these islands. This is mainly due to the fact that the exploration and exploitation threefold:

First, geologist have to map the area of interest, followed by geophysical measurements and finally with drilling. One meter of drilling costs about 200 AU$. Just recently a copper exploration in the Nadi area in Viti Levu, Fiji Island was done. During this exploration about 250 drill cores were taken and the average depth of every drill core is approximately 650 meters. The sampling of the drill cores produces immense costs.

Second, the operating costs of such a mine are very expensive too as most copper and goldmines are underground mines and an immense amount of energy is needed for operations. For example, the Vatukoula Gold mine in the northern part of Viti Levu needs 20 000 litres of diesel per day. Not only is this very expensive, it is also not environmentally friendly because of the high CO2 production caused by burning of the diesel.

Third, post operation of a gold or copper mine, the foreign mining company leaves and the citizens/communities in the South Pacific are left behind with high rates of unemployment and a barren and desolate land and infrastructure. Academic outcomes are to create an international research group regarding geothermal power in the South Pacific. These will be resulting in numerous international peer reviewed journals regarding fluid rock interaction in the investigated area.


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