Australian explorer Kingston Resources (ASX: KSN) has strengthened its on-the-ground presence in Papua New Guinea in preparation for permitting and development of its flagship Misima gold project.
The company has appointed Geoff Callister to expand its in-country management team as the project progresses through mining studies and regulatory approvals.
Mr Callister will lead the preparation of an environmental impact statement and mining lease application, and will help develop and implement Kingston’s social and community programs at Misima.
These programs include engagement with local communities, landowners and government authorities and have been considered “critically important” to the project’s success.
Kingston managing director Andrew Corbett said the Mr Callister’s role would help accelerate Misima through to the next stage of development.
“Geoff brings a set of vital skills to the Kingston team backed by extensive professional experience working at Misima Island and more broadly within Papua New Guinea,” he said.
“He has worked on landmark projects in Papua New Guinea and we are very much looking forward to welcoming him as we move to the next exciting stage at Misima.”
With a mining career spanning more than two decades, Mr Callister has been an advisor to various levels within Papua New Guinea’s government; aid and bilateral agencies; local civil society; small businesses; and international non-government organisations.
He has worked with companies including Placer Dome, Barrick Gold Corporation and Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) and has lived in the Melanesia region (which comprises Papua New Guinea) for more than 30 years.
Currently residing in Milne Bay, the home province of Misima Island, he is fluent in Melanesian pidgin (spoken throughout Papua New Guinea) and the local Misiman language.
Mr Callister most recently worked on the Freida River copper-gold project to the country’s north, where he led PanAust’s team on delivery of a full project feasibility study, environmental impact statement, environmental permit, and special mining lease applications.
Frieda River is considered one of the largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits within the Asia-Pacific region, with over 12 million tonnes of contained copper and 18 million ounces of gold.
In November, Kingston delivered the Misima pre-feasibility study which forecast gold production of approximately 130,000oz per year at an all-in cost of A$1,159 per ounce over an initial 17-year mine life.
The study contained a projected life-of-mine revenue of almost A$5 billion, free cash-flow of A$1.5 billion, a pre-tax net present value (NPV) of A$822 million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 33% based on a conservative gold price of US$1,600 per ounce.
At a gold price of US$1,900/oz, the project could expect to deliver a NPV of A$1.28 billion and an IRR of 48%.
Kingston currently has two diamond drill rigs conducting extensional and in-fill drilling within the existing Misima resource area which comprises 3.6Moz gold.
The company is also advancing the environmental and approvals program, which Mr Callister will now lead, in preparation for commencement of definitive feasibility study work later this year.