Bryan Bailie, the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture executive project director, and the project owner representatives Craig Jones and Johannes van Heerden, said that lodgement of the SML application represents a crucial milestone in progressing the Wafi-Golpu Project.
“The Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture has invested significant effort and resources to progress the Project exploration program and technical studies, and has engaged extensively with the local, provincial and national government, landowners and host communities and many other stakeholders,” said Bailie.
“We look forward to working with all levels of Government, landowners and host communities to advance the Project for the benefit of all stakeholders. The SML application gives us a good platform to secure support for major shared-use infrastructure, which would benefit the Project and the people of Morobe Province,” added Bailie.
The application follows the review earlier this calendar year by the board of directors, of both Newcrest Mining Limited and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (Harmony), of a Project feasibility study and pre-feasibility study.
As announced on February 15, 2016, further work is now being undertaken to optimise the study outcomes and incorporate additional data.
The SML application includes a proposal for development, which incorporates the feasibility study report and supporting documents such as a national content plan.
The national content plan, underpinned by a land ownership study, sets out the Project’s proposed approach to workforce and supplier development and community investments. It also outlines potential employment and business opportunities which would, where possible, prioritise landowners and other host communities located within the Project Impact Area of the proposed mine.
It is anticipated that, if developed, the Project will make a substantial positive economic contribution to Papua New Guinea at both a national and provincial level. It will be the first major, large-scale resource project in the Morobe Province since the Hidden Valley mine commenced operations in 2009.
Development of the Project should increase national gross domestic product and export earnings and provide a long-term boost to government revenues.
The Project also offers the potential to generate benefit streams to landowners and host communities, as well as create new jobs and business development opportunities during construction and operation.
Landowner communities would benefit from royalty streams, compensation and community development projects which focus on skills development, local business opportunities, agribusiness, health and education.
An environmental impact statement is being prepared for the Project and is expected to be lodged with the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) in the near future.
Any future development of the Project will be subject to the grant of an SML and obtaining all other necessary permits, approvals and agreements required from the Government, landowners and other stakeholders, and ultimately approval by the Board of Directors of both Newcrest and Harmony.
The Wafi-Golpu deposit is located approximately 65 kilometres south-west of Lae in the Morobe Province of PNG. Lae is the second largest city in PNG.
Newcrest and Harmony each currently own 50 percent of the Wafi-Golpu Project through the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture. The Independent State of Papua New Guinea retains the right to purchase, at a price pro-rata to the accumulated exploration expenditure, up to a 30 percent equity interest in the Wafi-Golpu Project, at any time before the commencement of mining.
If the State chooses to take up its full 30% interest, the interest of each of Newcrest and Harmony will become 35 percent.