Frieda River project to start in 2020

Mineral Resource Authority has announced the commencement of the formal process for the Frieda River Project to become an operational mine of world standard.


In a conference on Friday at the Mining Haus, Managing Director Philip Samar said the project will be the first major, large scale resource project in Sandaun and East Sepik.

The registration of the Special Mining Lease (SML) is a significant milestone for the companies involved as well as for Papua New Guinea.

Samar says the pre-production capital cost of the project is estimated at $US3.6 billion (K10.75b) and following a grant of the lease, a construction period for up to 4 years is envisaged with production expected to commence in the early 2020’s.

“An average annual production estimates of metal in concentrate, from 2.7 billion tonnes of mineralization is 175, 000 tonnes of copper and 250, 000 ounces of gold,” says Executive Manager for Regulatory Operations Divisions, Roger Gunson.

Gunson says the initial stage of the mine is expected to be 17 years with multiple pathways to further expand and extend initial operation.

The registration of the SML application has triggered a series of activities prior to the grant which includes the convening of the development forum by the Minister for Mining.

A key outcome will be a Memorandum of Agreement that will establish the recipients to benefit streams expected to come from the project.

Samar added that Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) will also assess the application for an environment permit as it is a pre- requisite to the grant of the SML furthermore, like for any major project, the approval process will take some time with final approvals made for grant by the Head of State, acting on the advice of the National Executive Council.

Samar will be leading a state team comprising of the Treasury, State Solicitor, Commerce, Trade and Industry and CEPA to Wewak and Vanimo for the whole of next week to engage with the provincial stake holders to create awareness and inform them of the submissions of the SML application and to discuss aspects of the approval process, mine development plans and benefit sharing agreements.

Annette Kora