Highlands Pacific has announced that Xstrata Frieda River, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xstrata Copper and the manager of the Frieda River copper gold project in PNG, is progressing the project into the pre-feasibility stage where yearly expenditure will be at similar levels to the 2008 year.
The Frieda River project is a Joint Venture between Highlands Pacific, Xstrata Copper (operating partner) and OMRD (Japanese consortium).
Highlands Pacific has a 16.7% stake in the joint venture with a free carried interest to the completion of the Feasibility Study due in January 2012.
After the completion of the Extended Scoping Study in 2008, where expenditure was US$30.1 m, the project will now progress to the pre-feasibility stage which is estimated to take 18 months.
“This is outstanding news for the project, for Highlands and for the people of Papua New Guinea. With development at the Ramu nickel cobalt project progressing well and due for commissioning at the end of 2009, Highlands now has its second world class project on the brink of development.
Highlands shareholders will be well rewarded for their support and patience when these two projects are eventually in production,” Highlands Pacific Managing Director John Gooding said.