Strong Copper and Gold Production for PNG Up to 2050, According to MRA

by PNG Business News - September 19, 2022

Photo: Jerry Garry

Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) MD predicts strong copper and gold production for Papua New Guinea up to 2050.

Wafi-Golpu and Frieda River, Papua New Guinea's two mining "mega projects," might be completed on schedule.

Over the next thirty years, New Guinea will rank among the top producers of copper in the world, according to Jerry Garry, the country's Mineral Resources Authority's managing director.

He cautions, though, that PNG's reliance on mining exports appears to be about to expire. thereafter.

Earlier this year, when speaking at the 2022 Business Advantage Papua New Guinea Investment Conference Jerry Garry of the MRA explained the three goals for the Authority, which is in charge of the mining industry in PNG.

These include the approval of the Wafi-Golpu and Frieda River "mega projects" as well as the restarting of the Porgera gold mine, which has been shut down since April 2020.

The shareholders' agreement for the revamped Porgera joint venture, which was signed this month by Mineral Resources Enga, opens the door for the reopening of the mine's development forum, which is a necessary step before production can resume.

If all goes according to plan, Porgera will reopen either in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2023, according to Jerry Garry, who spoke at the conference.

The Wafi-Golpu and Frieda River copper-gold deposits will require capital expenditures of little under US$10 billion (K35 billion) to develop, and they have a combined estimated 37.6 million ounces of gold and 20.6 million tonnes of copper.

The State and the project's developers, Newcrest Mining and Harmony Gold, were "in agreement," according to Garry.

discussions for a mining development contract for Wafi-Golpu are nearing their conclusion.

‘Wafi-Golpu is ranked first in the world for its copper resource and reserve equivalent,’ he said,

observing it would sustain PNG’s copper production once the Ok Tedi mine in Western Province

reaches its end-of-life, currently expected in 2030.

Construction on the project is expected to start in Q4 of this year, according to a preliminary MRA schedule. mine will start producing in 2027.

‘By 2063, all the major mines in this country will be depleted and exhausted.’

Production at Frieda River isn't anticipated to begin until at least 2031, pending approval from

MRA could be feasible by the end of 2024. A different 600 MW power plant is intended to

power the mine as well as the larger Sepik region through a 370 km transmission line.

Garry said that the project's promoter, PanAust, still needed to work out certain technological problems.

Limited, particularly in terms of how tailings would be handled.

He asserted that once both mines were operational, PNG's yearly copper production will "gradually grow"

Papua New Guinea will produce anything from 200,000 tonnes to approximately 600,000 tonnes of copper.

‘We will have a healthy copper production output from 2030 until about 2055 if all goes well

according to schedule. But look at the time when all these major mines will be closing. By 2063, all the major mines in this country will be depleted and exhausted. So, we have a challenge in front of us.

‘When we don’t have any of these copper and gold mines anymore, where are we headed?’

He urged lawmakers to adopt measures "that will also allow us to consider deep-seated ore deposits and expanding the non-renewable economic sector."

 

Reference: Pacific Mining Watch (12 September 2022). “PNG MRA Predicts Strong Copper and Gold Production for PNG up to 2050”.



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For the Goodman, et al., data go to Table 3.6 on p.61 in their report.\ Disclosure: This research was undertaken with the support of the ANU-UPNG Partnership, an initiative of the PNG-Australia Partnership, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The views are those of the authors only. This article appeared first on Devpolicy Blog (devpolicy.org), from the Development Policy Centre at The Australian National University. Stephen Howes is Director of the Development Policy Centre and Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Public Policy, at The Australian National University. Kingtau Mambon is currently undertaking a Master of International and Development Economics at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, for which he was awarded a scholarship through the ANU-UPNG Partnership. Kelly Samof is a lecturer in economics at the School of Business and Public Policy, University of Papua New Guinea.

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