Fri, 14/10/2016 - 12:00
Current Issue 41
Crater Gold Mining’s flagship Crater Mountain and Fergusson Island projects are helping to capitalise on PNG’s abundance of resources, while instilling longer-term sustainability in the country for future exploration to be conducted
Going for Gold
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Arron Rampling
A change in identity from Gold Anomaly Limited to Crater Gold Mining Limited in July, 2013 certainly hasn’t meant a change in ability or philosophy for the Australian listed Company making waves in Papua New Guinea’s mining domain.
With expertise in the development of gold and base metal projects across both nations, its operations in PNG have become a focal point for the business in recent years as its significant Crater Mountain and Fergusson Island projects continue to capitalise on the abundance of resources that exist in the country.
“Papua New Guinea is a resource-rich country which is one of the richest gold and copper provinces in the world,” the Company says. “It boasts a number of giant world-class copper and gold deposits including Grassberg, Ok Tedi, Porgera, Wafi-Golpu, Hidden Valley, Bougainville and Lihir Island as well as a number of large deposits currently being brought into production.
“By international standards it has only been lightly explored. Despite being a developing nation, PNG has a modern sophisticated mining legislation and supporting administrative infrastructure including a freely available database - much now in digital format - of all previous exploration activities. The Government is highly supportive of the mining industry and sovereign risk is very low compared to other developing nations.”
Blending the ripeness of PNG’s mining sector with the expertise of Crater Gold emanating from its experience both there and in Australia, the Company is ultimately able to meet its mission and ongoing ambition of increasing shareholder wealth through acquisition and development of world-class mineral resources.
The Company adds: “Our corporate strategy is to identify areas prospective for the occurrence of world-class mineral resources; to acquire selected areas and undertake exploration; to evaluate projects and undertake feasibility studies; and the commercial development of projects evaluated to be economically viable.”
Boasting a number of Tier 1 projects in PNG and Australia as a consequence of this strategy, the business’s role in PNG especially has been driven by its flagship operations at Crater Mountain.
“The flagship Crater Mountain project is a potential multi-million ounce gold deposit located in the Eastern Highlands of PNG. Significant gold mineralisation has been discovered on the surface and at depth in drilling,” the Company explains.
Located approximately 50 kilometres southwest of Goroka - the regional centre for the Eastern Highlands Province - it comprises three contiguous exploration licenses straddling the border between the Chimbu and aforementioned Eastern Highland regions.
“Crater Mountain has been actively explored for over 30 years, initially by Kennecott and CRA for copper porphyry mineralisation, and in the 1980s by Esso, City Resources and Highlands Gold for epithermal gold mineralisation,” the Company details on its website. “These efforts identified four prospect areas; Nevera, Nimi, Awanita and Masi.
“Although anomalous base and precious metals values have been discovered at all of the mentioned Crater Mountain prospects, Nevera is by far the most advanced prospect; enabling lower development and mining costs and amenable to open pit or bulk underground mining.”
Back in 2013, the Company decided to assess the potential of the High Grade Zone for fast-tracking small-medium scale gold production with the strategy of reinvesting profit into the ongoing exploration of the Nevera Prospect’s larger-scale potential.
“The Company has been developing the HGZ since August, 2013 through the development of an underground adit and cross cuts and an ongoing drilling programme,” Crater Gold continues. “This development has passed through a wide zone of intense brecciation containing numerous narrow gold bearing mineralised structures correlating well with surface artisanal gold workings.
“The Company believes that in the first year, production of 10,000 gold ounces is achievable, and there is strong potential for further gold and copper discoveries at the adjacent prospects to Nevera.”
Exploration and expansion
The Fergusson Island Project incorporates similar demonstrations of innovation and strategy in terms of getting the most out of the site, and comprises Gameta and Wapolu gold deposits “which are approximately 30 kilometres apart and lie a short distance inland from the northern coastline of Fergusson Island in the D’Entrecasteaux Island Group of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea”.
The Company explains: “The two properties have been explored for gold since the early 1980s during which time a total of 195 reverse circulation (RC) holes (10,179 metres) and 33 diamond holes (4,181 metres) have been drilled at Gameta; and 296 RC and air core holes (11,646 metres) and 97 diamond holes (6,401 metres) have been drilled at Wapolu.”
Throughout the Company’s operations in both Australia and PNG, the emphasis placed on wider national enrichment extends beyond the confines of the mines, with a concerted focus on local employment and local business partnerships.
Subsequently building an infrastructure of skills development around itself - and as the more than 200 staff in PNG will testify - Crater Gold has generated its own sustainability within the nation.
And with a new mining lease having been granted for further exploration and expansion to be carried out in Eastern Highland province moving forward, there are no signs of the Crater Gold momentum slowing down any time soon.