The story so far...

1966 - 1986 1986 - 2007 2007 - 2014 2014 - Present
1966 – 1967

The Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources (BMR) discovers copper-bearing sulphide mineralisation in the Frieda area during a regional mapping program.


Mount Isa Mines (MIM) applies for and subsequently is granted ‘Prospecting Authority 58’ (later EL 58) in March.

1969 – 1971

First drilling program takes place between 1969 and 1971 and was focused on the porphyry style mineralisation at the Koki and Horse prospects and the Pish Bully skarn mineralisation.

1968 – 1973

Carpentaria Exploration Company (MIM’s exploration arm) produces resource estimate for the Koki-Horse deposit of 367 million tonnes (Mt) at 0.45 per cent copper and 0.28 grams per tonne (g/t) gold at the end of its exploration activities.

1974 – 1978

Frieda Exploration Pty Ltd discovers of the Ivaal mineralisation and re-estimates a combined Horse-Ivaal resource at 440Mt at 0.52 per cent copper and 0.32 g/t gold.

1974 – 1978

A Japanese consortium represented by Overseas Mineral Resources Development (OMRD) earns a 40 per cent interest in Frieda River by carrying out district scale geology, grid soil surveys, and drilling. This work resulted in the discovery of the Ivaal extension of the Horse deposit, the Ekwai porphyry mineralisation, and the Nena high sulphidation mineralisation.


OMRD discovers the Nena deposit during the follow up of a stream sediment anomaly.


Surface mapping, rock chip sampling, and trenching led to the drilling of the first diamond holes at Nena.


A mineral resource of 32Mt of 2.3 percent copper, 0.6 g/t gold was calculated for the Nena deposit.

1979 – 1985

Frieda Copper Pty Ltd revises resource report to included Horse-Ivaal, Koki, Nena, Ok Nerenere, and Ekwai.

1978 – 1983

Both diamond and SPH drilling was undertaken, mainly focused on evaluating regional prospects.


Highlands Gold commenced a major core-drilling program aimed at improving the gold resource at Nena.


Highlands Gold increase Nena mineral resource to 51Mt at 2.2 per cent copper and 0.6 g/t gold.


The Frieda River Joint Venture, with Highlands Gold Properties Pty Limited — later Highlands Pacific Limited (HPL) — as manager, completed a prefeasibility study based on the Nena, Horse-Ivaal, and Koki deposits.


Highlands Pacific Ltd turn focus on testing porphyry mineralisation, testing the Koki, Ok Nerenere, and Trukai prospects.


Cyprus Amax joint ventures into with HPL and OMRD the Frieda River Project and assumes management control.


Cyprus Amax is acquired by Phelps Dodge; Cyprus Amax exits Project joint venture in March.


Noranda Pacific Pty Ltd acquires an interest in the Project and commences exploration and study activities on the basis of an option agreement with Highlands Frieda Limited (HFL).


Noranda Pacific Pty Ltd enters into a joint venture with HPL and OMRD. HPL again becomes the operating company on site.


Resource estimate of the Horse-Ivaal-Trukai undertaken by Snowden, resulting 1,005Mt at 0.52 per cent copper and 0.31 g/t gold, using a 0.2 per cent copper cut-off. Some 83 percent of the resource was inferred.

2004 – 2005

Drilling programs turn focus on extending the resource at Nena, exploration for more high-sulphidation targets, and collection of metallurgical samples at Nena. Work results in the increase of the Nena resource to 42.7Mt at 3.09 per cent copper and 0.59 g/t gold using a 0.5 per cent cut-off rate.


The Noranda-Falconbridge merge.


Falconbridge purchased by Xstrata; Xstrata Copper takes over management of the Frieda River Project.

2007 – 2008

Drilling was undertaken by the Xstrata Frieda River Ltd – HPL – OMRD Joint Venture.


Drilling program emphasis changes to Horse-Ivaal-Trukai (HIT) resource in more detail, in order to increase the proportion of indicated to inferred resources.


OMRD’s interest in the Frieda River joint venture (with Xstrata Frieda River Ltd and HPL) dilutes below five per cent; OMRD drops out of the joint venture in March.


Indicated tonnage of the HIT resource passes one billion.


PanAust Limited enters into a share sale and purchase agreement with Glencore to acquire the Frieda River Project. The agreement applicable to a condition precedent relating to all applicable regulatory approvals including Glencore satisfying the conditional approval given by the Ministry of Commerce, People’s Republic of China to the merger of Glencore International plc and Xstrata plc, and the Investment promotion Authority of Papua New Guinea.


PanAust completes acquisition of 80 per cent interest in Frieda River; joint-venture partner, Highlands Pacific hold the remaining 20 per cent interest.


Development of the Frieda River Copper-Gold Project announced as PanAust’s main growth objective.

2016 (May)

In May, PanAust announces the completion of the Frieda River Copper-Gold Project feasibility study.

2016 (June)

A Special Mining Lease application for the Frieda River Copper-Gold Project is registered with the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) of Papua New Guinea.

2016 (December)

PanAust announces the completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Frieda River Copper-Gold Project and that an electronic copy of the document was lodged with the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA) of Papua New Guinea.

2017 (May)

PanAust announces the completion of an addendum to the original feasibility study for the Frieda River Copper-Gold Project. The addendum incorporated data and technical analysis from geological, geotechnical and metallurgical field projects that was not available at the time of the original 2016 feasibility study.


PanAust announces a new development pathway for the Frieda River Project in in December. The new approach focuses on the development of shared-use infrastructure that will support, and in turn be supported by, a hydroelectric power facility and copper-gold mining operation: the Sepik Development Project.