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