Authorities in Papua New Guinea have granted a 2.5-year extension on the Mining Lease of the Woodlark Gold Project joint venture of Geopacific Resources and Kula Gold. The approval grants the JV additional time to develop the project within the 20-year Mining Lease.

Woodlark’s approvals cover a 1.8 million tonne per annum conventional carbon-in-leach processing plant. Another approval was the 20-year Mining Lease, which included a condition to complete construction and commissioning of the project by July 4, 2017.

Geopacific successfully applied to the government to maintain the currency of the 20-year lease.

On June 29, the Minister for Mining in PNG approved variation to extend the condition, allowing an additional two-and-a-half years to develop the project within the 20-year Mining Lease.

This includes a 12-month period to vary the technical aspects of the project resulting from Geopacific’s definitive feasibility study optimisation work.

Geopacific’s managing director Ron Heeks said, “The Mining Lease is a critical element in our plan to deliver Woodlark into production, so we are pleased with this result.

“When we took the project on, we understood the risk associated with the Mining Lease. We were confident that the PNG authorities would form a favourable view of the plan for our experienced and financially supported team to move Woodlark forward.

“We thanks the PNG authorities for working with us to achieve this result. This shows that we can deliver results on the ground. We encourage Kula shareholders to back our team and accept the takeover offer – let’s realise the potential of Woodlark together.”

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