NIUMINCO Group has restarted pilot mining at the Edie Creek mine in Papua New Guinea and is planning for the next round of drilling.

Pilot mining as well as large-scale sampling and gold production recommenced last week at the company’s Edie Creek mine following the grant of a 10-year extension to its PNG subsidiary Niuminco Edie Creek Limited (NECL) for ML 144 mining lease on 11 February, 2014. The lease extension runs to 29 September, 2022.

NECL’s other adjoining Edie Creek mining leases totalling 3.02 square kilometres were previously renewed from October, 2011 for a further 10 years.

Production levels and gold sales are planned to rise to 90-120 ounces of gold per month from April, 2014 for the next 12 months, from the current production rate of between 30 to 40 ounces of gold per month.

In addition, the proposed Stage 2, 10 hole, 2000 metre drilling program designed to test the Karuka- Enterprise Stockwork zone and Enterpise Diatreme/Maar on this lease is now scheduled to start in April, 2014.

At the planned level of gold production, both the company’s projected operating and exploration expenditures for the next 12 months are intended to be funded from internal cash flow.

In separate news, NECL has acquired a 100 per cent interest in exploration licence EL 1365 from Terenure Limited (25% interest) and NVL PNG Limited (75% interest).

EL 1365 adjoins to the north and west an exploration licence held by Morobe Mining Joint Venture (MMJV), which in turn surrounds Niuminco’s Edie Creek mining leases, and to the south MMJV’s Hidden Valley gold and silver mine.

The consideration for the 14,300 hectare licence is a net smelter royalty payable on any production from the tenement ranging between 0.5% -3.0%. The acquisition of the tenement is conditional upon registration of the transfer by the Mineral Resources Authority and approval by the Minister for Mining.