PRECIOUS METALS

PNG a premier mining destination: Freeport

Canada-based junior Freeport Resources has welcomed a two-year extension of its Nong River exploration licence at its Star Mountains portfolio in Papua New Guinea.

Staff reporter
 Freeport Resources’ Star Mountains project in PNG

Freeport Resources’ Star Mountains project in PNG

"We at Freeport cannot overstate the importance of this renewal to the company," CEO Gord Friesen said.

"It reinforces our belief that Papua New Guinea remains a premier mining destination globally, while providing us with the visibility to conduct our proposed work programs in the coming months."

Freeport's Star Mountains project is 25km from the Ok Tedi mine and is said to contain 7 million ounces gold-equivalent or 3 billion pounds copper-equivalent.

Meanwhile parties are working towards a restart for the circa 500,000 ounce per annum Porgera gold mine, which was shuttered in April 2020 after the PNG government refused to renew a special mining lease for the Barrick Gold-operated joint venture.

Barrick reached a framework agreement with PNG in April and Barrick said in its second quarter results this month the parties were "working towards the signing of definitive agreements, at which time, full mine recommencement work will begin".

Porgera continues to be excluded from Barrick's 2021 guidance.

Separately, Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold Mining recently resumed talks regarding a special mining lease for their stalled Wafi-Golpu gold-copper joint venture in PNG.

"Discussion with the PNG government as it relates to the special mining lease recommenced during the fourth quarter of FY21," Harmony said last month.

Wafi-Golpu has an estimated 28-year mine life and is expected to produce 1.4Moz Au-eq at steady-state production.

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