PanAust and Highlands Pacific’s Frieda River copper-gold project in Papua New Guinea is expected to cost around $1.7bn, according to the latest feasibility report by PanAust.
The Frieda River project comprises four copper-gold deposits located on the border of the Sandaun and East Sepik provinces in Papua New Guinea.
The company claims that the project is one of the largest known undeveloped copper deposits in the world.
The Frieda River is 80%-owned by PanAust and 20%-owned by Highlands Pacific, and is anticipated to produce 125,000t of copper-in-concentrate and 200,000oz of gold during its 20-year mine life.
However, in the first five years of operation, the mine is expected to process relatively soft ores allowing mill throughput rates of more than 20% above the life-of-mine average.
After this initial period, the ores will become harder driving throughput rates to around 20% below the life-of-mine average in the final years of operation, the company added.
PanAust said in a statement that: "Preliminary analysis indicates that the base case development concept would be robust at a copper price of $2.80/lb (and gold price of $1,300/oz).
"The base case demonstrates a higher value outcome than previous studies with a development concept comprising an open pit and a single process plant module incorporating a SAG mill and two ball mills.
"This development concept leverages off the experience gained at PanAust’s Phu Kham copper-gold operation in Laos, which has a similar process plant configuration and compact footprint, and is located in very similar terrain."