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The Frieda River district endowment totals some 2.8 billion tonnes of resource containing 12.9 metric tonnes of copper and 20.4 million ounces of gold according to a statement released by Highlands Pacific today.

The large amount of copper and gold deposits found in Frieda River makes the Frieda River Project PNG’s largest and most important copper-gold project.

According to the statement released today, most studies to date have focused only on the three deposits Horse, Ivaal and Trukai; estimated to contain 2,090 million tonnes at a grade of 0.45% copper, 0.22g/t gold and 0.70g/t silver.

As part of PanAust’s due diligence work, it completed a scoping study based on a smaller circa 24 million tonne per year conventional open pit and flotation operation producing a copper-gold concentrate for export to custom smelters.

“The scale of development is significantly more manageable in the current market environment than the previous design given PanAust’s estimate of development capital in the range of US$1.5 billion to US$1.8 billion (100% basis, 2013 dollars).

“This would equate to a capital intensity of less than US$13,000/t of annual copper equivalent production,” the statement highlights.