AN addendum to the feasibility study for PanAust’s Frieda River Copper-Gold Project has upgraded resources and added reserves. Measured and indicated copper resource at the HITEK (Horse-Ivaal-Trukai-Ekwai-Koki) deposits increased 8% while ore reserves increased 13%.
|PanAust managing director Dr Fred Hess and Frieda River site manager Phil McCormack inspect drill core.|
The global HITEK measured and indicated resource increased from 1.846 billion tonnes @ 0.44% copper to 1.860 billion tonnes @ 0.47% copper. This was primarily due to the conversion of about 120 million tonnes from the inferred category to indicated at Ekwai and Koki deposits.
Ore reserves increased by 13% to 686 million tonnes @ 0.5% copper and 0.28 g/t gold as a result of the upgrading of Ekwai and Koki resources along with improvements to the open pit design incorporating interim stage designs and water management structures.
Behre Dolbear Australia (BDA) completed an independent review of the feasibility study and
addendum. BDA concludes that the study and addendum provides a study of a standard that could be provided to lenders for consideration of finance.
Frieda River represents one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits. The HITEK global resource is now estimated to contain 2.64 billion tonnes at an average grade of 0.44% copper and 0.23 g/t gold representing 12 million tonnes of copper and 19 million ounces of gold.
The addendum confirms the feasibility of an initial project based on the HITEK porphyry deposits and comprising a large-scale, open-pit operation that supplies a conventional process plant with a nominal annual capacity of 40 million tonnes.
Average annual production of metal in concentrate is 175,000 tonnes of copper and 240,000 ounces of gold. Initial mine life is estimated at 18 years with 714 million tonnes of mill feed that includes 686 million tonnes of ore reserve. The mill feed represents approximately 25% of the global resource.
The project will have a competitive C1 cost of US$0.69/lb copper, which places it within the first quartile of the global copper cost curve.
There remain multiple pathways to further expand and extend the initial project with potential development scenarios indicating that mill feed could be increased to potentially 1.7 billion tonnes.
The project is held by the Frieda River Joint Venture, which is 80% owned by PanAust and 20% by Highlands Pacific.