Lion One Metals nears completion of construction at Tuvatu Gold Project, Fiji

ASX-listed gold explorer Lion One Metals (ASX:LLO) has completed 75% of the mine construction activities at its flagship Tuvatu Alkaline Gold Project in Fiji

The company reports the project remains on track to deliver its first gold in Q4 2023, while earthworks and concrete works are ‘substantially’ complete, with over 3,500m-cubed of concrete poured to date. Additionally, structural steel is 70% complete and is progressing ‘rapidly’.

All components required to commission the processing plant are also on-site, while a team of 350 contractors and employees are working together to bring the project towards completion.

Once complete, Lion One plans to operate the processing plant at an initial production capacity of 300 tonnes per day for the first 18 months of operations before increasing the capacity to 500 tonnes per day by mid-2025. The company also reports it is fully funded to complete mine construction and bring the project into production by the end of the year.

Once complete, Lion One plans to operate the processing plant at an initial production capacity of 300 tonnes per day for the first 18 months of operations before increasing the capacity to 500 tonnes per day by mid-2025

Lion One reports site infrastructure including a site office, mine changeroom, mine workshop, fresh water supply system, sewage treatment plant, waste rock crusher, and screener have been commissioned, while construction of the 6.3 megawatt (MW) power plant is in progress.

The company says the processing plant will treat material using a two-stage crushing process, with a primary jaw crusher and a secondary cone crusher. A system of 3 conveyor belts will transport materials between the 2 crushers and onto the processing plant.

The jaw and cone crushers, along with the first 2 conveyor belts, are in place, while conveyor belt 3 has been fabricated and needs to be lifted into place. Additionally, piping and electrical work remain to be completed, and the run-of-mine (ROM) pad has also been constructed and is in use, with minor upgrades remaining to be completed.

Lion One reports construction is ‘rapidly advancing’ on the grinding, concentrating, and leaching circuits and on the necessary supporting infrastructure, such as warehouses and workshops. The 2 ball mills and the leaching tanks are in place, and the first reagent warehouse is nearing completion, while all other components of the processing plant are in progress at various levels of completion.

The company says construction of the tailings storage facility (TSF) has been ongoing since June 2022 and notes the 115m tailings dam has been built to an elevation of 107m. The TSF is anticipated to be in operation in Q4 2023, while other components of the TSF, such as diversion channels, dam spillway, and linear installation, are advancing simultaneously.

Meanwhile, underground mining at the URA1, URW1a, and URW1b lodes is ongoing, with the main decline reaching a vertical depth of 99.4m below surface to a total depth of 344m from the mine portal. The link drive connecting the main decline to the historical exploration decline has been completed and measures 140m.

Lion One says the completion of the link drive is a ‘major’ milestone, as it enables the stage one primary ventilation system to be installed, which will provide sufficient ventilation to mine down to the 500 zone. Completion of the link drive also enables mineralised lodes to be mined from both the historical and main declines, increasing the number of faces available to mine, and adding ‘considerable’ flexibility to the mining operations.

Lion One is a Canadian resource company focused on advancing its ‘high-grade’ and fully permitted Tuvatu Alkaline Gold Project on Fiji’s main island Viti Levu. The company had about CAD$28.86 million cash at hand as of 31 March 2023, according to its latest quarterly report published on 15 May 2023.

Write to Harry Mulholland at Mining.com.au

Images: Lion One Metals
Written By Harry Mulholland
Hailing from the Central Coast region of NSW, Harry is a passionate journalist with a background in print, radio and ESG news. When not bashing away on his keyboard, he can be found brewing a coffee or playing with his dog.