The National, Wednesday August 08th, 2012
By MALUM NALU
FIELD work at Frieda River is essentially complete, with some continued base line monitoring and community affairs and landownership determination programmes continuing, according to Highlands Pacific’s quarterly activity report for the period ended June 30, 2012.
Last November, Highlands and Xstrata Copper announced an extension for the delivery of the Frieda River feasibility study to Dec 21 this year to allow more time to consider PNG’s emerging energy options.
“Xstrata as operator-manager continues to advance the feasibility study with a natural gas power assessment well underway, in conjunction with a project site reconfiguration review and general optimisation of the project execution model,” the report said,
“In June, Xstrata notified Highlands that it was undertaking an investor assessment of the Frieda River project.
“Highlands is in talks with Xstrata regarding this process, including its pre-emptive right, together with the ongoing work on the feasibility study which Xstrata has restated its commitment to completing by December 2012.”
Frieda River is PNG’s largest currently reported copper-gold resource.
The total Frieda River district endowment totals some 2.8 billion tonnes of resource containing 12.9 metric tonnes of copper and 20.4 million ounces of gold.
The pre-feasibility and the feasibility studies have focused on the three deposits – Horse, Ivaal and Trukai – estimated to contain 2,090 million tonnes at a grade of 0.45% copper, 0.22 grammes per tonne (g/t) gold and 0.70g/t silver.
In other developments, Highlands Pacific estimates spending US$8 million to US$10 million this year to test a further four to five prospects in the Star Mountains area post the successful drilling at the Olgal prospect.
Drilling at Olgal was completed last March with 12 of 14 holes encountering copper and gold mineralisation.
“Exploration in the June quarter was hampered by mechanical repairs to the two drill rigs,” the report said.
“The drilling contractor has taken corrective action and made a number of changes to ensure better performance going forward.”