Wafi-Golpu is an advanced exploration project located in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea, approximately 65 kilometres south-west of the sea port of Lae.
The project is owned by the Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture (WGJV), one of three unincorporated joint ventures between subsidiaries of Newcrest (50%) and Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited of South Africa (50%), formed in 2008 and referred to collectively as the Morobe Mining Joint Ventures (MMJV).
Deep drilling conducted by the WGJV since 2008 has identified a world class porphyry deposit at Wafi-Golpu (the Golpu deposit) suited to bulk underground mining techniques, similar to those being employed by Newcrest at Cadia Valley Operations.
At 31 December 2012, the project had Mineral Resources estimated to contain 28.5 million ounces of gold, 9.1 million tonnes of copper and 50.6 million ounces of silver. This includes Ore Reserves for the Golpu deposit estimated to contain 12.4 million ounces of gold, 5.4 million tonnes of copper and 19.7 million ounces of silver. For more information refer to Newcrest’s Resource and Reserves Statements for the year ended 31 December 2012.
Currently, the Wafi-Golpu project includes the Golpu copper-gold porphyry deposit, the Nambonga copper-gold porphyry deposit and the Wafi high sulfidation epithermal gold deposit.
Exploration activity to date has shown that the Wafi-Golpu tenements host one of the highest grade porphyry copper systems in south-east Asia (the Golpu deposit), comparable with other world class systems such as Ok Tedi and Bougainville, also in Papua New Guinea.
The Golpu deposit is one of several porphyry ore bodies identified along the 25 kilometre long Wafi-Transfer. Newcrest and its joint venture partner are actively exploring this highly prospective terrain for additional deposits.
In 2009, a concept study on the Wafi-Golpu mineral resource commenced. The following year an updated pre-feasibility study was initiated and a revised Mineral Resource estimate was reported. Further drilling and re-evaluation led to updated Mineral Resource estimates for 30 June 2011, 31 December 2011, and again at 29 August 2012, following completion of the Golpu pre-feasibility study and the advancement of the concept study in relation to the Wafi deposit.
Before the Golpu project proceeds to feasibility study status, the owners will be engaging extensively with key stakeholders including all levels of government and landowner representatives to ensure alignment on the project development and key elements of the next phase of work.
Subject to the satisfactory resolution of these outstanding matters, Newcrest and Harmony anticipate they will progress the Golpu project into the feasibility study phase during calendar year 2013. In the meantime, further study work will occur.
Surveys are conducted at Wafi-Golpu prior to work being undertaken to identify and manage potential environmental impacts. In addition, the PNG Forestry Research Institute conducts pre-clearance surveys to document any species of flora and fauna of significance or which may be at risk.
If the WGJV proceeds with the development of a mine at Wafi-Golpu, a detailed environmental and social impact assessment process will be carried out to identify potential environmental, social and community impacts. From these assessments, comprehensive environmental management and mitigation plans will be developed and put in place.