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By Baeau Tai

PORT MORESBY, PNG (The National, Aug. 5) – A group of landowners and the South African gold miner, Harmony Gold Mining Ltd will today sign a deal that will put in place benefits that landowners will get from the mining operations in their area.

Harmony is the developer of the A$177 million (K424 million) Hidden Valley Gold project in Wau, Morobe province, where the signing will take place.

The Mining Department confirmed yesterday that a government delegation composed of Mining Minister Sam Akoitai, Treasury Minister Bart Philemon, National Planning and Rural Development Minister Arthur Somare and Environment Minister William Duma will witness the signing ceremony.

The delegation will leave Port Moresby today on a chartered flight and return from Wau in the afternoon.

Harmony Gold will be represented by one of its directors from its Perth office in Western Australia.

The landowners of Hidden Valley/Hamata gold project have been looking forward to this big day and will be celebrating to mark the occasion.

Nakuwi Association president Rex Mauri has said the landowners and the people of Wau are happy with the successful negotiation process on the benefits that was completed recently.

The current resource at Hidden Valley is estimated at 4.3 million ounces of gold and approximately 53 million ounces of silver.

Phase one of the project includes the building of an open pit mine and processing facility, which will produce an average of 300,000 ounces of gold and 4.5 million ounces of silver per annum - with a project life of about six to seven years.

Construction of the open pit mine is expected to commence middle of this year with the first gold poured in early 2007 at a cash operating cost of U$224 per ounce.

The gold mining project is the first of three developments that Harmony is hoping will see it producing close to one million ounces in PNG by 2011.

The company is also holds mining rights to nearby Wafi and Golpu projects in Wau, which are currently the subject of feasibility study.

Friday, August 5, 2005

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