Alice Queen Ltd (ASX:AQX) shares were as much as 20% higher to 3.1 cents after entering into a binding, conditional share sale agreement to acquire Fijian company Viti Mining Pte Ltd which has gold projects in Fiji.
Viti Mining and Alice Queen have worked in conjunction to secure recently granted applications for the Nabila Prospect (SPL1514) and Viani Prospect (SPL1513).
Subject to regulatory and completion conditions, AQX will acquire Viti Mining as the means to acquiring the rights to explore these gold prospects in a nation with a strong gold production history.
Acquisition of these prospects would extend Alice Queen's gold footprint and complement its Horn Island Project and JV in Torres Strait, Far North Queensland, and Yarindury Project in Northern Molong Volcanic Belt of the Lachlan Fold Belt in Central West NSW.
Long gold history
Fiji has a long history of mining and exploration and is on the highly prospective ‘Pacific Rim of Fire’. It is host to numerous mineral deposits such as Vatukoula Gold Mines (VGML), Namosi Gold Project and Lion One Metals’ Tuvatu Gold Project.
The country is considered as the ‘hub of the Pacific’ and is serviced by direct flights from Australia, New Zealand and a number of major Asia cities (Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo) and the USA (Los Angeles, San Francisco).
Alice Queen aims to conduct various exploration works at the Nabila and Viani prospects over the course of 24 months.
Managing director Andrew Buxton said: “After a full two years working with our team on the ground to secure these Fiji assets, we are delighted to be able announce that we now have a formal agreement in place to acquire Viti Mining which has recently secured the Nabila and Viani prospects.
“We have over the past two years also assembled a fabulous Fiji team led on the technical front by our own chief technical adviser, John Holliday.
“Accordingly, we believe we are in good hands in terms of having accurately evaluated the significant opportunity that presented itself in Fiji.
“With our Horn Island St Barbara JV progressing well and a scoping study launched to assess the economics of a future operation in respect of our 100%-owned Horn Island resource, we believe the company is perfectly positioned to take advantage of these highly prospective Fiji assets and create further value for all shareholders.”
The Nabila prospect covers around 2,730 hectares and lies on the same age alkali volcanic belt as Tuvatu, 30 kilometres to the northeast, and Vatukoula, 70 kilometres to the northeast.
Previous exploration by several companies including Emperor Gold Mines, Climax Mining Fiji Ltd, Millennium Mining (Fiji) Ltd and Geopacific Resources Limited has outlined several areas which the company considers prospective for future exploration.
The main focus of the past exploration has been the 2-kilometre-long, gold base metal, surface anomaly between the historical Mistry Mine and the Faddy’s prospects.
Exploration work at the prospect will include reprocessing existing datasets such as past geophysical surveys, drill test for extensions to the Fat Freddy’s prospect and complete the compilation of available data aimed at generating additional targets within the Mistry Mine and Faddy’s prospect corridor as well as other prospects in the Nabila SPL1514 project area.
On the other hand, the Viani prospect covers around 20,854 hectares and is on Vanua Levu, the second-largest island of Fiji.
In 1996-1998, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in conjunction with the Metal Mining Agency of Japan (MMAJ) conducted an early-stage exploration program which was reported to include the drilling of six shallow diamond drill holes across around 700 metres structurally controlled veined zone.
All six drill holes intersected vein structures at a depth of less than 150 metres below surface and returned positive gold assays.
Alice Queen intends to verify the MMAJ/JICA drill core with re-logging and re-assaying (if conditions of conservation allow it) and conduct field verification including surface and structural mapping, detailed soil sampling, surface sampling and trenching across the identified 10 ppb and 50 ppb gold soil anomaly.
Other exploration activities include geophysics such as a high-resolution ground magnetics and resistivity-IP survey and drill target testing based on the findings from the previous phases.