The Vatukoula mine was on care and maintenance when Westech took control of the asset. Westech managed the entire asset including $30 million in creditors and 2000 employees resident in mine houses on the mine site.
The mine consisted of three operating mine areas, Smith vertical shaft, Philip vertical shaft and main decline. The mine contained strong grades of around 8g/t on average with very challenging underground conditions including 55C tepid water on the ore bodies at 300PSI.
The mine was 900 metres deep with 10 C heat pickup per 100 metres depth which meant the mine had to be refrigerated and well ventilated to manage the heat flow from the high thermal gradient and 24 heavy diesel vehicles underground.