Management of the Star Mountains Copper-Gold Project in Papua New Guinea has been transferred from Highlands Pacific to Anglo American. The transfer comes after Anglo delivered the required joint venture project expenditure of US$25 million since 2015.
Under a joint venture agreement executed in February 2015, Anglo acquired the rights to an initial 51% interest in the project by paying Highlands US$10 million. That 51% ownership interest was then to be earned in phases, with 15% vesting upon a farm-in spend of US$25 million within the first four years, and the remaining 36% vesting upon the declaration of an NI 43-101/JORC compliant inferred resource of 3 million tonnes of contained copper equivalent within 5 years.
Highlands this week announced that the first phase of US$25 million in project expenditure has been achieved, thereby earning Anglo its first 15% ownership interest, also triggering the transfer of project management to Anglo.
Highlands CEO Craig Lennon said he was pleased to see the exploration program proceeding as envisaged in the original agreement. “We have an excellent relationship with Anglo American, and welcome its ongoing commitment to the exciting Star Mountains project.
"Exploration is advancing steadily and drilling results continue to suggest the tenements may host a large copper porphyry that could ultimately underpin a significant copper and gold mining project,” he said.
A number of extensive drilling campaigns have been completed at Star Mountains over recent years.
The current campaign, funded by Anglo, commenced in October 2016. Five holes have been completed in this campaign with additional holes to be drilled by the end of August.
Anglo American can move to an 80% interest in the joint venture by completing a bankable feasibility study by 2030.s
The Star Mountains exploration tenements, which include Nong River, Mt Scorpion, Munbil, Tifalmin and Mt Abemh, cover 675sqkm and are approximately 20km northeast of the Ok Tedi mine and 25km from the support town of Tabubil, in the West Sepik Province of PNG.