Frieda River Limited (a PanAust Limited subsidiary) and Highlands Frieda Limited (a Highlands Pacific Limited subsidiary), are the tenement holders for the Frieda River Project in West Sepik.
They last Friday registered with the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) a special mining lease application, along with nine supporting tenement applications.
MRA managing director Philip Samar said the project would be the first large-scale resource project in the Sepik provinces.
He said the registration of the mining lease was a significant milestone for the companies involved and for the country.
It will be known as tenement SML 9.
“Once in development, the project will increase national gross domestic product and export earnings and provide a long-term boost to Government revenues,” he said.
“It will also generate benefit streams to landowners and host communities, as well as create employment and business development opportunities during project construction and operation.”
The pre-production capital cost of the project is estimated at US$3.6 billion (K11 billion) .
“Following the granting of the lease, a construction period of up to four years is envisaged. Production is expected to commence in the early 2020s.
“The average annual production estimates of metal in concentrate, from the 2.7 billion tonnes of mineralisation, is 175,000 tonnes of copper and 250,000 ounces of gold.
“The initial stage of the mine is expected to be 17 years, with multiple pathways to further expand and extend the initial operation.”