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Geopacific Resources moves confidently first gold pour at Woodlark Project in 2022

The precious metals explorer is dedicated to pouring first gold at its flagship Woodlark Gold Project by the end of 2022 - it spent the interim period securing capital to fund the project into production.

Geopacific Resources Ltd - Geopacific Resources move towards first gold pour at Woodlark over FY21 half-year
The Woodlark Gold Project.

Geopacific Resources Ltd (ASX:GPR) has delivered its interim financial report, detailing its financial and operational highlights for the six months up to June 30, 2021.

Over the period, the precious metals explorer put all its energy into developing the 1.6-million-ounce Woodlark Project, a high-margin, shovel-ready gold play in the ‘Pacific rim of fire’ in PNG.

GPR is targeting first gold at Woodlark in quarter four of 2022 and spent the interim period securing funding to ensure the asset was fully funded through to production.

At the end of the half-year, Geopacific had nearly $256 million in cash and cash equivalents to support its future operations.

Bringing Woodlark into production

GPR’s Woodlark asset is in Papua New Guinea, an established mining jurisdiction with a long history of operation.

PNG produced around 2.4 million gold ounces in 2020 and regards Australia as a major trade partner, priming the company to enter production and export the project’s dore down under.

The Woodlark Project is surrounded by multiple gold plays, currently under development with larger players like Newcrest Mining Ltd and small caps such as Kingston Resources Ltd (ASX:KSN).

A definitive feasibility study has established a highly competitive all-in sustaining cost of A$1,239 per ounce and a 13-year mine life.

The asset is poised to produce 980,000 gold ounces over its mine life and currently hosts more than a million ounces in reserves.

Around A$255 million in initial project capital is required to bring the asset into production.

Financials

Over the half-year, Geopacific’s net loss after tax came in at roughly $2.9 million, down on the previous corresponding period’s $3.8 million result.

On the other hand, the company’s net assets recorded a substantial increase, jumping roughly 152% to $198 million.

This figure includes $51 million worth of capitalised mine properties currently under development, also up on the previous half’s $38 million result.

The most dramatic increase, however, was recorded on the company’s cash flow statement.

Geopacific went from $34.6 million in cash and cash equivalents on December 31, 2020, to a $255.9 million just six months later.

The balance sheet boost is thanks to the company’s $140 million placement, which finalised in February, and a $100 million funding package with investment manager Sprott Inc, which closed in June.

Both investments have provided enough capital to fund the Woodlark Project through construction, which is underway.

Developing Woodlark

As it prepares the Papua New Guinea asset to enter production in the fourth quarter of 2022, GPR is progressing work on multiple fronts.

Over the half-year, the gold project developer advanced construction activities, with clearing works at the plant site and camp now 100% complete.

Construction continues on a series of community relocation buildings, such as houses and a new school, while the temporary construction plant hit the 70% completion milestone.

The company also completed its design for the project’s wharf, with the linking access road now complete.

Meanwhile, the Woodlark processing plant design was just under halfway complete at the end of June, with the engineering services firm set to mobilise to site this quarter.

Some of the early phase works also progressed, with key activities including:

  • Signing a contract with Contract Power Australia (CPA) to procure long lead time items tied to the Woodlark Gold Project’s power station development;
  • Issuing a letter of intent (LOI) to support an order for the first phase of mining equipment; and
  • Placing an order to secure the plant’s semi‐autogenous and ball mills.

Geopacific is targeting a series of other development milestones over the next 15 months, as outlined below:

Key appointments

During the half-year, Geopacific continued to build on the team needed to construct and operate the Woodlark Gold Project over the coming years.

In January, the company appointed Graeme Rapley as project director.

A civil engineer and highly qualified project execution specialist, Rapley has delivered projects across the world in known gold regions like the Caucasus, West Africa, South East Asia and PNG.

A month later, the company appointed Mike Meintjes as company secretary.

Meintjes is an experienced governance specialist having first qualified as a Chartered Accountant and worked for more than 30 years with a Big Four accounting firm.  

During this period, he spent three and a half years with Ernst & Young in PNG.

Non-core assets

Although all eyes are currently on the Woodlark Project, it isn’t the only asset on Geopacific’s books.

However, because of the imminent move to production, the company believes it can generate the best return for shareholders by spinning out its other interests.

As a result, GPR is in talks with the vendors attached to the Kou Sa Gold Project in Cambodia, which it has explored since 2013, to dispose of its stake.

Meanwhile, the gold project developer has relinquished the licences associated with its Fijian gold project portfolio.

Quick facts: Geopacific Resources Ltd

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