The National, Monday July 22nd, 2013
By GYNNIE KERO
BOTH Highlands Pacific and the PNG Government are keen on developing the Frieda River project as soon as possible, managing director John Gooding comments.
He made the remark following Highlands’ release of its quarterly activity report last Thursday for the period ending June 30 this year.
Gooding said: “It is pleasing to finally see the Glencore Xstrata merger completed.
“We await the outcome of their proposed asset divestment programme with respect to their interest in the Frieda River project.
“Both Highlands and the government are keen for Frieda to be developed in a timely manner, as we believe in its potential and the benefits that it will bring to all the stakeholders.”
The Ramu nickel cobalt project is progressing through ramp up and is currently producing at a maximum rate of about 40%.
The maximum rate capacity of the Ramu NiCo project is 31,000 tonnes of nickel and 3,300 tonnes of cobalt.
Gooding said: “Ramu continues to move steadily ahead … it would have been good to see the project producing at higher rates sooner which would ultimately begin to create earlier cash flow for Highlands.
“However, it is important to remember this is a project with a 20-year mine life and much potential past this, so a 12/24 month commissioning timeline is not a major issue.
“We see our 8.56% and potentially 20.55% interest in Ramu as an important asset for the medium-to-longer term with increasing strategic value.”