FOLLOWING the completion of the phase 1 drilling and exploration program at Udu Point on Vanua Levu last December, work will continue into phase 2 because of its promising prospects, says Stewart Capp, the exploration manager of Matai Holdings.
A statement said Matai Holdings was the Fiji company for Dateline Resources, the owner-operator of the Udu Point project which had been exploring for copper and zinc deposits at its lease holdings since l996.
"Although it is early days, the results from the drilling have been encouraging, and although much more work must still be carried out, there is now enough information to indicate that further exploration is warranted," said Mr Capp.
Late last year Dateline Resources announced a joint venture agreement with Australian company, Conto Resources that would help finance an expanded exploration and drilling program at Udu Point through 2013.
Under the terms of the agreement, Conto will contribute up to $6.2m to fund the ongoing exploration and drilling program.
Mr Capp said most of the work carried out so far involved preliminary set-up.
"In addition to the drilling, much of our efforts in phase 1 was directed towards strengthening the infrastructure, upgrading the exploration camp, and in developing the access roads and drill pads. We also repaired the drainage systems around Nukudamu Village, home to most of our staff."
The statement said about $1million had been spent by Dateline Resources over the past six months, much of it in mobilising heavy equipment, a diamond drill rig, earth moving equipment and construction materials. Mr Capp said under the terms of the agreement if the exploration program was successful, the companies would then merge with Dateline Resources shareholders holding 50 per cent shares in Conto.
The joint venture agreement is expected to be finalised shortly.