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).
The Company completed a feasibility study for the Project in May 2016. In June the same year, PanAust submitted its application for a Special Mining Lease (SML) for the Project to the Papua New Guinean Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).
In May 2017, PanAust announced the completion of an addendum to the original feasibility study. The addendum incorporated data and technical analysis from geological, geotechnical and metallurgical field programs that was not available at the time of the feasibility study.
The Horse-Ivaal-Trukai, Ekwai and Koki (HITEK) global Mineral Resource is now estimated to contain 2.64 billion tonnes of mineralisation at an average grade of 0.44 per cent copper and 0.23g/t gold representing 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 and addendum contemplates an initial Project based on the HITEK copper-gold porphyry deposits and comprises a large-scale, open-pit mining operation that supplies a conventional process plant with a nominal capacity of 40 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). Average annual production of metal in concentrate is expected to be 175,000 tonnes copper and 250,000 ounces of gold. The initial mine life is estimated a 18 years with 714Mt of mill feed that includes 686Mt of Ore Reserve. The HITEK open-pit design is based exclusively on Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources and mill feed represents approximately a quarter of the global Mineral Resource. The Project will have a competitive C1 cost of US$0.69/lb copper (average over the life-of-mine) that will place it in within the first quartile of the global copper cost curve.
There are multiple pathways to further expand and extend the initial Project with potential development scenarios indicating that mill feed could be increased from 714Mt 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, offer considerable potential to increase the Mineral Resource base to support mine life extension and capital expansion. The nearby high-grade Nena epithermal copper-gold deposits offer further potential for subsequent development that leverages the infrastructure facilities identified in the feasibility study.
For further information about the Project, see PanAust's quarterly reports Company Announcements listed on the 'Company Announcement' page.