Harmony Gold, the South African mining company has reported that its joint venture with Newcrest Mining of Australia will now cost some US$2.5 billion less than planned while delivering a 17% rate of return over stage one of the Golpu project in Papua New Guinea.

The prefeasibility study has shown that there will be a low capital development cost yielding high grades of gold and copper, which will maximise free cash flow generation showing the potential of this ore body.

Graham Briggs, CEO of Harmony said: “The updated prefeasibility study supports our view that Golpu is a spectacular ore body with a large copper component, affordable and mineable. Key objectives of the study have been achieved by reducing the capital of the project, lowering operating costs and improving the rate of return.”

Foot print reduced – capital saved

The boundaries of the upper part of the ore body have been redefined following 52 000 core samples taken by project consultants WorleyParsons. The project will be mined by the block caving method and the updated study indicates a reduction in the size of the footprint of the block caves compared to earlier studies significantly reducing capital requirements.

The annual production for Harmony averages at 500 000 gold ounces per year from 2024 to 2029 with stage 1 having a life expectancy of 27 years.

“The conclusion of the updated PFS is a major project milestone and has demonstrated the significant potential of this world-class ore body,
which contains mineral resources of 20 million ounces of gold and 9.4 million tonnes of copper.”

The two proposed block caves in Stage 1 are designed to access approximately 40% of the contained metal (gold and copper) of the
Golpu reserve. The approximately 60% remaining of the reserve would be extracted by a future deeper block cave (Stage 2). The mining and
processing infrastructure of Stage 1 would then be utilised to support development of Stage 2.