On Tuesday 11 December, Newcrest Mining Limited and Joint Venture Partner Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) as a confirmation to proceed with the Wafi-Golpu project.
The MOU establishes a framework for the parties to progress with the project as quickly as possible in accordance with applicable regulatory processes and provides a framework of key terms to be included in the Mining Development Contract and other related agreements with the State. The MOU also re-affirms the parties’ intent to complete the permitting process and achieve grant of a Special Mining Lease by 30 June 2019.
Newcrest Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sandeep Biswas, said they have been working constructively with the Government of PNG to progress the exploration project and recently achieved key milestones in this process with the completion of a Feasibility Study Update in March 2018 and Environmental Impact Statement in June 2018.
“This MOU builds on that progress and captures our joint understanding of the terms and timeline that we are working towards,” he stated.
Moving forward, the Joint Venture is completing approval processes to commence a substantial work program, including the establishment of underground access for further drilling of the Golpu deposit and the construction of a bridge over the Markham River.
“The commitment of Prime Minister O’Neill and his Government to this MOU gives us the confidence to start spending on our substantial initial work program while we complete the permitting process,” continued Mr Biswas.
“Getting this work started will benefit Morobe Province, with a capital injection into the economy and improved access to remote parts of the Province,” he said.
The PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum also said the signing of the MOU between the Government and the Joint Venture Partners is a significant step forward for the project and the country.
PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Executive Director, Dr Albert Mellam said the Wafi-Golpu project will inject significant revenue into the country’s economy and provide substantial socio-economic benefits to project impact communities including the local landowners, the host province of Morobe and the country.
“The resource industry has underpinned the growth of the Papua New Guinea economy for decades, providing considerable social and economic benefits that have flowed to the government and the people of Papua New Guinea and with the expansion of existing projects like the PNG LNG and the development of new ventures such as the Wafi-Golpu project, we are optimistic these projects will provide the country with further economic growth,” he said.
The project has Mineral Resources estimated to contain 26 million ounces of gold, 8.8 million tonnes of copper and 48 million ounces of silver. This includes Ore Reserves for the Golpu deposit estimated to contain 11 million ounces of gold and 4.8 million tonnes of copper.
More information on the Wafi-Golpu project can be found here.