Noel Pascoe | PNG Loop
Planning is in an advanced stage for a tailings dam to stop the dumping of mine wastes into the Fly River system, says an Ok Tedi Mining Ltd executive.
Marketing executive manager Garry Martin said this to a Madang workshop on resource industries for media workers today.
He said there were two possible sites for such a dam that had been identified and were being keenly studied for their suitability.
The case for a tailings dam would be strengthened if the current deposit was extended and if very promising findings at the nearby Townsville tenement went ahead.
Mr Martin, a qualified metallurgist, told the conference that while BHP, a previous owner, had tried and failed with a tailings dam, the technology had improved since those times.
He said the tailings dam project could cost $US300-400 million but it was “something we are really looking at, particularly with the other nearby mineral deposits we are looking at’’.
“The way it’s been done in the past is not the way you can do it nowadays,’’ he said.
The terrain made it difficult, having 11 metres of rainfall each year and with steep terrain which resulted in substantial soil subsidence naturally.
The mining over the past 30 years had accelerated that effect, he said.
It is understood the company is hoping to have the dam constructed in time for the possible development of pockets of rich ore in the current Mt Fubilan lease and for development of the Townsville depost, which could mean by 2019 or soon after.
The company expects to receive the pre-feasibility results later this year, which may lead to identifying one particular site for the tailings storage dam.