GEOPACIFIC Resources continues to focus on assessing optimisation opportunities at the Woodlark Gold Project on Woodlark Island as it drives the joint venture project along the path to production. Many of the project’s technical aspects have been investigated in detail and Geopacific is now examining areas such as modular construction techniques, refining the processing plant flowsheet and technology.

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Drilling at the Woodlark Island joint venture project of Geopacific Resources and Kula Gold.

The company says the development work it is undertaking is unaffected by its takeover bid for JV partner Kula Gold, which has been extended to July 20 to allow time for Geopacific and Kula shareholders to continue discussions.

Geopacific says considerable effort is being applied to optimising mining and areas of interest include optimal mine design, refining grade scheduling to shorten the capital payback period and equipment selection.

Capital savings directly affect the financing period of the mine while operational costs directly affect the size of the gold reserve. The company says that optimising both provides for a robust project. Each of the areas under review may provide incremental savings with the potential to deliver attractive project economics.

Managing director Ron Heeks said, “Woodlark is a solid project – a multi-million ounce gold deposit with approvals in place to build a 1.8 million tonnes/annum plant and opportune timing in the mining cycle.

“Woodlark is beneficially differentiated by being on an island. Cost effective modular build options and operational logistics come into play because we are on the coast with access in a protected bay with deep water.

“Our focus is to optimise the project and take it into production. We are taking a comprehensive approach to our review and optimisation work program, with positive results and encouraging level of progress.”

The PNG Minister for Mining recently granted a 2.5-year extension on the Mining Lease of the project so that it can be developed within the 20-year lease.

The original 20-year lease included a condition to complete construction and commissioning of the project by July 4, 2017, and Geopacific has successfully applied to the government to maintain the currency of the lease.

The Minister has approved the variation and the 2.5 year extension includes a 12-month period to vary the technical aspects of the project resulting from Geopacific’s definitive feasibility study optimisation work.

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