BY LAWRENCE WILLIAMS
ANNOUNCING HIS company's latest mineral reserves and resources, Harmony Gold CEO, Graham Briggs, has reported a huge 57% expansion of the resource for the Wafi Golpu joint venture with Newcrest.
The latest drilling has expanded the resource to more than an estimated one billion tonnes making it one of the highest grade copper-gold porphyry systems in South East Asia.
Briggs believes the Wafi Golpu stake is a "game changing" asset for Harmony and that it confirms the company's long held belief that Golpu alone is truly a world-class discovery.
"The Golpu deposit benchmarks as one of the highest grade copper-gold deposits in South East Asia,” Briggs said, “and there is potential to improve this further. The ultimate size of the system, including the gold mineralisation, is yet to be realised, but significant potential remains for additional growth.”
He pointed out that the Wafi Golpu resource at this time last year was only 644 million tonnes. He noted that copper grades have gone up, and tonnage has gone up substantially.
Asked whether the resource increase was causing Harmony and Newcrest to revise mine development plans and perhaps bring them forward, Briggs commented, "Yes, we are running basically three processes...so the drilling continues, there's a pre-feasibility on the go and we've also indicated to the market that we'll probably do some early access.”
Harmony and Newcrest have a number of other regional exploration projects under way which are considered highly prospective and also have the potential of being very large indeed.
The Wafi Golpu deposit runs quite deep so will need to be mined by underground means as well as a big open pit.
PNG has not always been the easiest place to work for mine developers with the local population sometimes restive and government and national institutions having a sorry record on corruption, so there could yet be pitfalls along the route to development of what is very definitely a world class resource.
Source: Mine Web