Wouwou vows to work with mine management

The new management of Frieda copper cold project has been reassured by West Sepik Governor Tony Wouwou, pictured, that he will work with them.

Wouwou gave the assurance in a meeting with Frieda management yesterday.

The Frieda River copper-gold project is located 175km north-west of the Porgera gold mine (Enga) and 75km north-east of the Ok Tedi mine (Western).

The major development highlighted during the meeting was the submission of the updated feasibility study and environmental impact statement to Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) and Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa).

In a statement last month, Highlands Pacific managing-director Craig Lennon said the feasibility study represented a further step towards unlocking the value of the giant Frieda River project.

“The Frieda River project has the potential to generate major economic benefits for Papua New Guinea, for the communities in the region, the participants in the project and the shareholders of Highlands Pacific.”

The entire project requires increased total capital investment of more than US$7 billion (K23.6bil) encompassing cost of mine development, process plant, hydro-electric power plant, road construction, airport upgrades and power transmission network.

It proposes a much longer mine life of 33 years, compared with 17 in the prior study.

Wouowu thanked the outgoing management for their contribution to advancing the Frieda project to this stage.

Also during the meeting, Wouwou was briefed by new general manager for technical services Scott Cowie, incoming general manager for project development Simon Milroy, outgoing general manager for external affairs Glen Connell and community affairs manager Geoffrey Callister on latest developments at the Frieda project. He was also assured in the meeting that these management changes had nothing to do with the Frieda project.

It was basically PanAust’s structural changes and Frieda still remained as the company’s number one priority.

According to PanAust, the Sepik development project would deliver a world-class mine and a long-life hydro-electric power facility.

These two commercial projects will be enabled by third-party development of an international maritime port, public roads, a regional airport and telecommunications services to establish a new economic corridor in an underdeveloped region of PNG.