By MALUM NALU
A feasibility study on the Frieda River project on the border of East and West Sepik provinces, one of the largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits in the Asia-Pacific region, is due to be finalised in December 2012, The National reports.
This study was to have been delivered in January 2012, however, joint venture partners Xstrata Copper and Highlands Pacific made the decision to delay the finalisation while they assessed new power supply options and other configuration alternatives that became available late in the study timeframe.
Located approximately 200km from the northern coastline and 70km from the navigable Sepik River, the project is managed by the global copper producer, Xstrata Copper, and owned in a joint venture between Xstrata Frieda River Ltd (81.82%) and Highlands Pacific Ltd (18.18%).
“The feasibility study is now due to be finalised in December 2012,” Frieda River project general manager Paul Gow said in its sustainability report for 2011, which was distributed at last week’s mining and petroleum workshop for PNG media.
“Onsite activities have increased significantly following completion of the 2011 drilling and site investigation campaigns for the feasibility programme and this is reflected in a reduced number of sustainable development targets for 2012.
“However, with exploration, building and maintenance, continued study activities, land ownership determination and community affairs programmes continuing, 2012 will be yet another busy and challenging year for the Frieda River project.”
The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum says in its latest industry overview that Frieda was one of three major world-class potential mining developments, the others being Wafi-Golpu in Morobe, and Yandera in Madang.
According to the Frieda River website, this extension would allow time to investigate potential development options that had become available late in the study timeframe.