Wafi-Golpu, a long life

The project can be ‘multi-gen­er­a­tional’ ac­cord­ing to Bryan Bailie, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the joint ven­ture.

Paradise - - Strictly Business -

The ex­ec­u­tive project direc­tor of the Wafi-Golpu Joint Ven­ture, Bryan Bailie, told the Pa­pua New Guinea Min­ing and Pe­tro­leum In­vest­ment Con­fer­ence in Sydney late last year that the in­ten­tion is to roll out the project in stages.

Bailie says the project has the po­ten­tial to be a “long du­ra­tion sus­tain­able min­ing op­er­a­tion” that can last 28 to 35 years, or more.

If de­vel­oped, he says, it will be the largest un­der­ground mine in PNG and the first green- con­cen­trate is es­ti­mated to be 5–15 grams per tonne.”

Bailie says a multi-staged devel­op­ment strat­egy is the “op­ti­mal ap­proach to min­ing this sub­stan­tial min­eral re­source”.

He says the project would be rolled out in a num­ber of steps to help man­age the risk.

“This ap­proach af­fords an un­der­ground ex­plo­ration plat­form for fur­ther min­eral re­source devel­op­ment, a re­duc­tion in the over­all risk pro­file in de­vel­op­ing the green­field un­der­ground block­ade mine, im­proved project port­fo­lio man­age­ment and mul­ti­ple de­ci­sion­mak­ing points across the project life cy­cle, and then staged or phased cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture and shorter devel­op­ment times to first pro­duc­tion, thus im­prov­ing project eco­nom­ics.”

Bailie says the em­pha­sis will be on risk mit­i­ga­tion be­fore fur­ther in­vest­ment, which will make it eas­ier to align the roll out of the project with changes in the com­mod­ity mar­kets and the “dy­namic and fluc­tu­at­ing ex­ter­nal en­vi­ron­ment”.

He says the Wafi-Golpu Joint Ven­ture, which is equally owned by sub­sidiaries of Newcrest Min­ing and Har­mony Gold, will roll out the project in stages, tar­get­ing its first pro­duc­tion from Block­ade 1, which is lo­cated 980 me­tres be­low the sur­face. He says this will en­able the ex­trac­tion of eight mil­lion tonnes of ore over a four-year pe­riod at a peak an­nu­alised pro­duc­tion rate of three mil­lion tonnes per an­num.

He says the aim will be to mine the high­grade ore body first to gen­er­ate cash flow to sup­port the con­struc­tion of Block­ade 2.

Block­ade 2, says Bailie, is lo­cated a fur­ther 680 me­tres be­low Block­ade 1. “This will ex­tract 141 mil­lion tonnes of ore over a three to four-year pe­riod at a peak an­nu­alised pro­duc­tion rate of six mil­lion tonnes per an­num. This is a big ore body" ■

The re­source at WafiGolpu is es­ti­mated to be 820 mil­lion tonnes of min­er­alised ore at 1.05 per cent cop­per and 0.7 per cent grams of gold.

The Wafi- Golpu mine site … ex­ec­u­tive Bryan Bailie says it has the po­ten­tial to be a multi- gen­er­a­tional project with a life up to 35 years, or more.

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