PNG minerals company Highlands Pacific Limited has confirmed that Ramu project operator China’s Metallurgical Corporation of China Limited (MCC) is examining a potential US$1.5 billion expansion of the nickel and cobalt project near Madang.

Highlands, which holds an 8.56% interest (increasing to 11.3% upon repayment of project loans to Metallurgical Corporation of China Limited (MCC)) in Ramu, said further details of any proposed expansion are still being finalised.

The project has been achieving record rates of production and strong profitability in recent quarters and has recently increased its Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources and has plans for further drilling programs.

Meanwhile, Highlands said it is continues to  work on te completion of its proposed streaming transaction with Cobalt 27, announced in May.

The transaction requires the approval of the joint venture partners in the Ramu project, including MCC and the Mineral Resources Development Company of PNG (MRDC); and is likely to involve MRDC entering an equivalent streaming transaction with Cobalt 27.