By TERENI KENS
MINING group Xstrata and major developer of the Frieda River copper and gold project in Sandaun province could see an estimated increase of 26 percent in resource tonnage.
The Brisbane based company revealed this in a recent announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and the Port Moresby Stock Exchange (PoMSox) through Highlands Pacific – partner in the Frieda River project.
Xstrata as a major global diversified mining group is also listed on the London and Swiss stock exchanges
The company official Peter Forrestal said the latest results confirmed Frieda River as potentially a very significant copper-gold producer in the Asia-Pacific region.
"The resource estimate includes significantly increased inventory and improved confidence levels, including a 26 percent increase in resource tonnage," said Forrestal, executive general manager for project evaluation at Xstrata's copper unit.
The new estimate released recently shows over 1 billion tonnes at 0.53 percent copper and 0.29 grammes per tonne of gold.
Xstrata, the world's fourth biggest copper producer, said a pre-feasibility study for the deposit is due to be completed in the third quarter of this year.
“Our current focus is to conduct various technical studies to support a pre-feasibility study which is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2010. Stakeholder engagement and environmental studies are also under way.
“We are committed to moving forward with the Frieda River project in genuine partnership with our joint venture partners Highlands Pacific Limited and OMRD, the project’s host communities and district, provincial and national governments,” said Mr Forrestal.
Anglo-Swiss Xstrata owns 76.3 percent of the Frieda River project, with stakes of 16.95 percent held by Highlands Frieda Ltd and 6.75 percent by OMRD Frieda Co Ltd.