THE Frieda River project, a gold and copper mine developed by Xstrata Mining Ltd and Highlands Pacific Ltd, is estimated to have more than 11 million tonnes of copper and 18 million ounces of gold in its Nena, Horse/Ivaal/Trukai (HIT) and Koki deposits, The National reports.
The project, currently undergoing a bankable feasibility study (BFS) carried out by Xstrata, when in full production will put Frieda on the map as one of the world's top 15 copper mines.
Highlands Pacific managing director John Gooding said yesterday that the production life of Frieda could be up to 20-30 years, with the first eight years producing 250,000 tonnes per annum of copper and 380,000 ounces per annum of gold.
"If you look at its second year of operation, on or about the year 2018 on current schedules, Frieda will produce about 320,000 tonnes of copper and a massive 580,000 ounces of gold.
"This would place it in the top 10 if in production today," he explained.
Gooding pointed out that Frieda has in-ground copper and gold resource potential for many decades of production.
"To put the current Frieda resource in context, that is about double the current inventory at the fabulous Wafi-Golpu project which stock market analysts have placed valuations on in the billions of dollars," he told shareholders at the annual general meeting.
Frieda River project, located between the East and West Sepik provinces, is 81.82% owned by Xstrata who are funding its BFS, and by Highlands Pacific (18.18%).
Gooding said the other exploration project for Highlands Pacific on Star mountains has also reported significant copper gold intersections from its drilling programme.