Geopacific Resources Limited (ASX:GPR) Managing Director, Ron Heeks, discusses the company’s Woodlark Gold Project and the path to production.
Geopacific Resources Limited (ASX:GPR) is an emerging copper-gold producer. We currently have projects in Cambodia and in Fiji, but we’re totally focused at the moment on moving the Woodlark Island Gold Project into production. It’s at a high state of development already and it’s a short near-term, large-scale operation for us to move into.
We currently have a joint venture with Kula Gold Limited (ASX:KGD), where we’re earning in for 80 per cent of the project, at project level. But we’ve also mounted an off market takeover for the company. So the corporate activity is that - that we are trying to takeover Kula Gold. That’s purely for clarity reasons, so that both their shareholders and our shareholders have a good idea of true ownership of the project. The joint venture and the takeover are running simultaneously and both are separate. Either way, the project will be built by Geopacific, but we’re doing the takeover wholly and solely for clarity reasons. Other than that, we earn in to 80 per cent of the project, so it will be developed by us either way.
We’re tracking well against the targets; the objectives are to improve the size of the reserve. And we’re doing that by transforming some of the two million ounce resource, into reserve. So we’re only drilling in areas where we know there is mineralisation. We’re moving that through to engineering studies, most of which have already been completed. So they’re really only tweaking and adjusting the financials for 2017 prices. We’ll then move directly into financing the project, which we hope to be having those discussions by late this year, with the aim of starting a build in 2018.
The support from both the Government and the locals in PNG has been fantastic. The Government actually pay for their five per cent share, so they’ve got skin in the game as well. And the locals see the benefit, because it is really the best way for them to improve their lot. Both education, health, business development and creating jobs, as we will employ about 400 local people.
The project is to keep drilling; we currently have three rigs onsite. We hope to be finalising that drilling and moving to reserve calculations, third quarter. Then moving into financing later this year.