Contained copper metal at the Horse-Ivaal-Trukai deposit of the Xstrata-Highlands Pacific Frieda River copper-gold joint venture project has risen to 9.4 million tonnes, based on a total resource of 2.09 billion tonnes at a grading of 0.45% copper at a cut-off of 0.2%.
“Contained copper has increased by 10% in the total mineral resource and by 7% in the measured and indicated resource categories, compared to the previous update released in February,” Xstrata said in a statement. The measured category now comprises 37% of the total mineral resource, compared with 16% in February.
The 2.09 billion tonne total resource includes 14.8 million ounces of contained gold metal at a grading of 0.22 grams/tonne.
A feasibility study on the Frieda River project is due for completion in January 2012. A pre-feasibility study in late 2010 indicated it had the potential to annually produce 246,000 tonnes of copper and 379,000 ounces of gold for the first eight years of a 20-year mine life.
Frieda River, 170km from Barrick’s Porgera gold mine, has been touted as one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold resources in the Asia Pacific. Xstrata holds 81.82% of the joint venture with ASX-listed Highlands Pacific holding 18.18%.
Highlands said in late 2010 that if the JV partners proceeded with applying for a mining licence after the feasibility study was completed, development could potentially start in late 2012 or early 2013.