Harmony Gold is ahead of schedule with plans to increase production at the Hidden Valley Gold-Silver Project to an annual rate of 28 million tonnes. It is aiming for annual steady state production of 180,000 ounces of gold and 3 million ounces of silver and expects to achieve commercial levels of production during the June quarter of 2018.

The mining fleet has been recommissioned and additional fleet has been delivered to site. The mining rate ramp-up is proceeding with waste stripping ahead of schedule.

The process plant shutdown and upgrade has been reduced from five months to four months, commencing in August 2017. Planning is well advanced and orders for long-lead items have been placed. Renegotiating commercial contracts is expected to result in US$20 million annual cost reductions.

The company is also targeting completion of the stage 7 prefeasibility study in the 2018 financial year. This will involve mining of 25 million tonnes for 1.3 million ounces of gold and 25 million ounces of silver.

During the March quarter Hidden Valley produced 26,235 ounces of gold, which was lower than the previous quarter production of 30,350 ounces. Production came from 957,000 tonnes of ore milled, an increase from the 838,000 tonnes milled in the three months to December 31. Yield per tonne decreased from 1.29 g/t to 1.00 g/t.

The company is confident of achieving overall production guidance for 2017 of 1.05 million ounces, which includes 47,500 ounces from Hidden Valley, which is an open pit mine in Morobe Province. The Hidden Valley-Kaveroi and Hamata pits, located approximately 6km apart, are in operation. Ore mined is treated at the Hidden Valley processing plant.

Wafi-Golpu activities progress

The Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture of Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold continues to progress activity at the Wafi-Golpu project in line with its forward work plan, including engagement with the PNG Government on the application for a Special Mining Lease.

Exploration drilling has re-commenced within the Wafi-Golpu project area with drill testing of Namboanga North target, 1.5km northwest of Golpu, under way.

Wafi-Golpu is an advanced exploration project in Morobe Province, about 65km southwest of the port city of Lae.

Deep drilling conducted by the JV since 2008 has identified a world-class porphyry deposit at the Golpu deposit suited to bulk underground mining techniques, similar to those being employed by Newcrest at the Cadia Valley Operations in New South Wales.

Wafi-Golpu has estimated mineral resources of 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.

Era now a private company

Era Resources is now a private company after completed a going private transaction. The Canadian-based company, which holds the Yandera Copper Project, is now wholly-owned by Sentient Global Resources Fund IV.

Earlier this year, Era entered into an MoU with Mayur Power Generation PNG, a company with a vertically integrated power strategy that is actively developing new low cost, multi-fuel power projects in PNG.

Under the MoU, the parties have agreed to negotiate on a non-exclusive basis the terms of a development agreement to secure over-the-fence supply of power for the Yandera project.

Mayur’s managing director Paul Mulder said, “We are excited about the potential of the Yandera project and the significance of it as a project of national interest in PNG. Mayur Power Generation is optimistic about our ability to provide a cost effective and reliable power solution.”

Last December Era entered into a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with China Nonferrous Metal

Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co Ltd (NFC), a leading international engineering and consultancy firm.

Under the HoA, the parties have agreed to negotiate final terms of NFC’s appointment to the team of project consultants that will assist Era with pre-feasibility and feasibility studies.

WCB secures 49% of Misima

WCB Resources has completed the second stage of a farm in agreement with Gallipoli Exploration covering the Misima Island Gold Project and now has a 49% interest in Gallipoli. As at March 31, 2017, total expenditures in the project totalled approximately A$6.921 million and by spending at least A$9 million by March 31, 2018, WCB can obtain up to 70%.

Gallipoli is owned by Pan Pacific Copper, which is owned by JX Nippon Mining and Metals (66%) and Mitsui Mining and Smelting (34%).

Systematic WCB exploration has defined three significant prospects within the project - Misima Porphyry Prospect, Umuna Zone and Quartz Mountain. The company is focusing efforts on Umuna.

An indicated resource of 1.3 million ounces of gold and 6 million ounces of silver and an inferred resource of 380,000 ounces of gold and 3.3 million ounces of silver has been defined along the Umuna zone. Further extensions to this system at depth and along strike are observed and WCB has found significant channel sample results in the Misima North area.

After terminating a Heads of Agreement earlier this year regarding a proposed merger with GBM Resources, WCB issued shares to GBM for settlement of a A$150,000 debt and then closed a private placement raising A$310,000.

Valuation of Crater Gold assets

Crater Gold Mining has received an independent valuation of its PNG assets, which was prepared to satisfy an Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Disclaimer of Conclusion. The preferred market value of the assets has been established as A$8 million.

The company commissioned an independent valuation following the request from the ASX, which was received after Crater Gold released its 2016 financial statements in mid-March.

The valuation established a low value of A$3.3 million and a high value of A$10.6 million.