Joint ven­ture moves for­ward on Wafi-golpu

Morobe Min­ing Joint Ven­ture has com­mit­ted to a fea­si­bil­ity study at the promis­ing Wafi-golpu project, aimed at guiding the prospect into its next phase of ex­plo­ration.

Business Advantage Papua New Guinea - - Mining -

Morobe Min­ing Joint Ven­ture (MMJV) is on track to make a cru­cial in­vest­ment de­ci­sion that would se­cure the next phase of ex­plo­ration at the mas­sive Wafi-golpu gold and cop­per project in Pa­pua New Guinea.

De­spite the im­pact of ex­ter­nal fac­tors, such as the re­duced price of gold, MMJV has main­tained its com­mit­ment to ad­vanc­ing the highly prospec­tive project over the past year.

In De­cem­ber 2013, MMJV—AN evenly split ven­ture be­tween Australia’s Newcrest Min­ing and South Africa’s Har­mony Gold— com­mit­ted to a fea­si­bil­ity study into an ex­plo­ration shaft to fur­ther eval­u­ate the un­der­ground po­ten­tial of the project.

‘Un­der­ground ac­cess to the ore body through the ex­plo­ration shaft would gen­er­ate es­sen­tial ore body knowl­edge re­quired

to sup­port a fu­ture devel­op­ment de­ci­sion,’ MMJV said in a state­ment.

MMJV is study­ing a smaller start-up op­er­a­tion than it had pre­vi­ously en­vis­aged, and has en­gaged en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant Wor­ley Par­sons to ex­plore lower cost devel­op­ment op­tions. A fi­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sion for the pro­posed ex­plo­ration shaft is ex­pected dur­ing the sec­ond half of 2014.

In con­junc­tion with the fea­si­bil­ity study, MMJV in­tends to fi­nalise an agree­ment with the PNG Gov­ern­ment to pro­vide a frame­work for the un­der­ground ex­plo­ration phase, on­go­ing tech­ni­cal and eco­nomic stud­ies and, ul­ti­mately, the fu­ture devel­op­ment and op­er­a­tion of the project.

A prefea­si­bil­ity study com­pleted into the Golpu de­posit in 2012 es­ti­mated devel­op­ment costs of US$4.8 bil­lion for an un­der­ground op­er­a­tion that would an­nu­ally pro­duce 400,000 ounces of gold and 250,000 tonnes of cop­per over its first 15 years.

Wafi-golpu has a com­bined re­source of 28.5 mil­lion ounces of gold and 9.06 mil­lion tonnes of cop­per. The joint ven­ture’s ex­plo­ration tar­get for the project has been set at 40 mil­lion ounces of gold and 15 mil­lion tonnes of cop­per. Newcrest has bud­geted to spend be­tween A$18 and A$20 mil­lion on ex­plo­ration at Wafi-golpu dur­ing the 2014 fi­nan­cial year.

Mean­while, the joint ven­ture’s Hid­den Val­ley mine in the Wau Bu­lolo dis­trict of Morobe con­tin­ues to be a solid con­trib­u­tor to the pro­duc­tion pro­files of both com­pa­nies. In the De­cem­ber 2013 quar­ter, the mine pro­duced 24,792 ounces of gold and 272,710 ounces of sil­ver, a slight rise in out­put against the Septem­ber quar­ter.

‘Wafi-golpu has a com­bined re­source of 28.5 mil­lion ounces of gold and 9.06 mil­lion tonnes of cop­per.’

The Hid­den Val­ley gold mine

The Morobe Min­ing Joint Ven­ture camp at Wafi

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