OK Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) must come up with feasibility study laying out the risks, costs, and project viability supporting the plan to extend its gold mining operations.
And the Mining Department through the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) must endorse the plan to Mines Minister Sir Puka Temu before the application for extension could be taken up with Cabinet for deliberation.
Sir Puka said OTML needed to produce the results of its study for the additional seven years it wanted to prolong the productivity of the mine.
Sir Puka, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, stressed that at present, his department was looking at the mine closure plan.
One important impact for consideration would be the disposal of about 430mt of waste rocks – 280mt of these from the open cut mine (Berlin) and tailings and milling processing, and 150mt from West Wall that would need stripping to access Berlin ore by 2014.
OTML said the mine development programme would have to start next year to meet the 2014 target.
It said it needed National Government’s approval and consent of the communities in the mining area and others to kick-start the development programme.
Any delay in the project would create a production gap that would significantly devalue the project in terms of economics and efficiencies and a gap beyond 18 months would most likely prove project to be uneconomic, OTML said.
The miner said its management was in the process of undertaking the feasibility study which would identify the best possible disposal option for waste rock.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum has thrown its support behind OTML’s plan to extend the current mine life.
“We definitely would like to see the mine continue and we hope the Government makes that critical decision to see the plan to meet the critical deadline.
“It’s very important that the Government realises that time line,” executive director Greg Anderson said.
“We are very much hoping the mine will continue to support the local communities, the province and the economy as a whole”.
Mr Anderson also said the proposed mine extension period would also allow enough time for proper planning on the closure of the mine.