JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner Xstrata is progressing its Frieda River copper/gold project, in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the prefeasibility stage.
The Frieda river project is a joint venture (JV) between Xstrata Copper, ASX-listed Highland Pacific, and the Japanese consortium OMRD. Highland Pacific held a 16,7% stake in the JV, with a free-carried interest in the completion of the feasibility study, due in January 2012.
The prefeasibility study would take an estimated 18-months to complete and would cost around $30,1-million.
The prefeasibilty programme would include between 35 000 m and 37 000 m of drilling, revised resource estimate, preparation for a pilot plant, engineering design work on the hydro-electric dam, environmental baseline monitoring, and the re-estimation of capital cost estimation received from the extended scoping study.
“This is outstanding news for the project, for Highlands, and for the people of PNG. With development at the Ramu nickel and cobalt project progressing well and due for commissioning at the end of 2009, Highlands now has its second world-class project on the brink of development,” said Highlands MD John Gooding.
The extended scoping study estimated that the project would deliver 4,29-million tons of copper, and 6,41-million ounces of gold, during its 27-year life-of-mine. Construction on the site was set to start in 2012, while production would start in 2016.