Geopacific Resources Ltd (ASX: GPR) has generated further project de- risking and optimisation progress in its Phase 1 2023 Work Programme at the Woodlark Gold Project in PNG.
The Work Programme has been in part informed by lessons learned from previous construction activities and aimed to reduce the overall Project footprint, environmental impact and execution risk, and simplify infrastructure locations for future development.
- Enhancements identified to both reduce the Project footprint and reduce execution risk.
- New proposed process plant site with improved geotechnical and drainage conditions.
- New proposed wharf location utilises the same infrastructure corridor as the tailings line, reducing the Project footprint and eliminating approximately seven km of road construction.
- Improved surface water management strategy to eliminate the previously designed seawater return line for process water.
- Operating and capital cost estimates completed for a range of process plant throughput options. Financial analysis of these options is well advanced.
- Leadership transition underway, with a focus on ensuring the new board and management team have the requisite skills to drive the future strategic direction of the company.
Optimisation of Key Infrastructure
The revised infrastructure design, with input from Knight Piesold and Orange Mining, has sought to enhance Project constructability by optimising for wet-climate construction including:
- Placement of key infrastructure on self-draining locations to reduce water management costs and provide better conditions under foot during construction;
- Relocation of the process plant site away from karst limestone material, reducing geotechnical risk and removing the need for major ground improvement works; and
- Load and directly place excavated material from the plant site for road construction to increase the reliability of compaction, improve water run-off and trafficability.
A revised Project layout incorporating the new proposed configuration improvements, reduces the overall footprint significantly. The alignment of the wharf within an existing infrastructure corridor eliminates the requirement for approximately seven km of new roads, reducing upfront establishment costs and future maintenance requirements.
The company will need to submit applications to amend conditions in the Environment Permit and various LMP’s to encompass the proposed changes.
Process Plant Site
Previous construction of the process plant foundations encountered significant technical challenges primarily due to the karstic nature of the ground, which resulted in schedule delays and cost escalation.
The Work Programme evaluated the cost and actions required to remediate the 2021 process plant location which would require a combination of structural piles and geotechnical ground improvements, whilst also assessing alternative locations with superior geotechnical conditions and lower implementation risk.
An alternative process plant site, informed by previous technical work, was identified approximately 5.6km south-east of the 2021 site and is located on a hill composed of materially competent substrata. The new proposed location is free draining and is expected to minimise the requirements for piling underneath major processing infrastructure.
As an added benefit the new site is also expected to provide competent material that can be used in road construction. This delivers earthworks savings and a reduction in environmental impact by minimising the requirement for borrow pits.
The engineering studies discussed in this release have also supported an ongoing review of capital and operating cost estimates for a range of project options. These studies, whilst requiring further refinement, are significantly advanced for the new Board and Management to derive the appropriate strategy for the Woodlark Gold Project going forward.
Leadership Transition Underway
A clear objective of the current board since the beginning of the year has been the appointment of a new CEO coupled with a broader leadership transition, with a focus on ensuring the new board and management team have the requisite skills to drive the future strategic direction of the Company.