The strategic direction of the Company is to maximise returns from its producing assets while advancing projects that offer potential to sustain and grow the business in the long term. Any project that progresses to the development stage is required to demonstrate compelling investment returns.
Frieda River Copper-Gold Project, Papua New Guinea (PanAust 80 per cent)
PanAust holds an 80 per cent interest in the Frieda River Copper-Gold Project in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with joint venture partner, Highlands Pacific holding the remaining 20 per cent. Upon the grant of a Special Mining Lease (SML), the Government of PNG has a right to acquire, at cost, up to a 30 per cent interest in the Project which, if exercised in full, would reduce PanAust’s holding to 55 per cent and Highlands Pacific to 15 per cent.
Frieda River represents one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the world. The Horse-Ivaal-Trukai, Ekwai and Koki (HITEK) global Mineral Resource is estimated at over 2.7 billion tonnes of mineralisation at an average grade of 0.42 per cent copper and 0.23g/t gold and contains 12 million tonnes (Mt) of copper and 19 million ounces (Moz) of gold. PanAust considers that the optimum approach to this substantial Mineral Resource is via a multi-staged development that involves an initial project stage that forms the platform for subsequent phases of exploration, Mineral Resource definition and development.
The feasibility study contemplates an initial Project based on the HITEK copper-gold porphyry deposits and comprises a large-scale, open-pit mining operation that feeds ore to a conventional process plant nominally rated at 40 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). Average annual production of metal in concentrate is 175,000 tonnes copper and 250,000 ounces gold. The initial mine life is estimated at 17 years with 700Mt of mill feed that includes 608Mt of Ore Reserve (Appendix II) from Horse-Ivaal-Trukai (HIT). The mill feed represents approximately a quarter of the global Mineral Resource.
There are multiple pathways to further expand and extend the initial Project with potential development scenarios indicating that mill feed could be increased from 700Mt to 1,700Mt on currently known Mineral Resources. The HITEK deposits have not been closed off by drilling, and together with additional known deposits and exploration targets, provide considerable potential to grow the Mineral Resource base to support mine life extension and capital expansion. In addition the nearby high grade Nena deposit offers further potential for subsequent development.
On 21 December 2016, PanAust announced the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Project and that an electronic copy of the document had been lodged with the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) of PNG.
On 24 June 2016, PanAust announced that an SML application for the Project had been registered with the Mineral Resources Authority of PNG. The lodgement followed the completion of the Project feasibility study which was announced on 19 May 2016.
Follow this link to view the location of the Frieda River Project in PNG.
For further information about the Project, see quarterly reports and other statements on the Company Announcements page.
Myanmar Exploration Licences, Myanmar (PanAust 80 per cent)
Following approval by the Government of Myanmar Cabinet and President’s Office, PanAust was granted three Exploration Licences in Myanmar.
The Exploration Licences comprise three tenement blocks – Hel Chain, Pin Hin Hka and Nam Awl – covering a 600 square-kilometre area.
The Company’s focus in Myanmar for the 2016 year is to carry out geochemical sampling and mapping to identify potential drill targets by year end and strengthen its presence in the country by establishing a permanent office in Banmauk Township. PanAust will also continue to advance other potential exploration opportunities in Myanmar throughout the upcoming year.
In Myanmar, PanAust holds an 80 per cent interest in Wuntho Resources Company Limited (WRCL) and has established a joint venture with Myanmar Energy Resources Group International Company Limited (MERG), a Myanmar based company, which holds the remaining 20 per cent of WRCL. WRCL owns 100 per cent of the rights to the areas covered by the Exploration Licences.
In December 2016, PanAust announced the expansion of its Myanmar exploration program through a farm-in agreement with Metro Mining Limited over the Mahar San Exploration Project in the Sagaing Region.
For more information about the Myanmar Licences, see the quarterly reports and other statements on the Company Announcements page, including that released on 8 February 2016 entitled PanAust announces Exploration Licences in Myanmar.
Phu Kham district exploration, Laos (PanAust 90 per cent)
Exploration activities in the Phu Kham district have transitioned into early stage generative and target identification work. It is planned that this work will continue throughout 2016 seeking new geological targets for evaluation.
KTL Copper‐Gold Project, Laos (PanAust 90 per cent)
The KTL Copper-Gold Project is located in the northern part of the Contract Area and is focused on the KTL copper-gold deposit which lies close to existing road and power infrastructure, and is near the town of Phonsavan.
Desktop work occurred during 2015 and will continue in 2016; however, no material expenditure is currently budgeted for the KTL Project.
Inca de Oro Copper-Gold Project, Chile (PanAust 66.2 per cent)
In Chile, PanAust owns a 66.2 per cent interest in the Inca de Oro Copper-Gold Project through a Chilean incorporated joint venture company, Inca de Oro S.A.
PanAust completed a feasibility study on the Inca de Oro Project in 2014. No material site activities are currently planned for the Project.
Puthep Copper Project, Thailand
PanAust commenced a trade sale process for the Puthep Copper Project in conjunction with its joint venture partner, Padaeng Industry Public Company Limited during the first half of 2011. With no plans to develop the asset and no purchaser emerging from the sales process, the Company recognised an impairment provision of the total investment in Puthep as at 31 December 2013.