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Agata Nickel Development Options
Agata Development Options
An Emergent Nickel Laterite Processing Country
Mindoro's model for enhanced value, on-site processing is to some extent based on the highly successful Coral Bay, Palawan Island, HPAL operation of Sumitomo and Nickel Asia. Initially a DSO producer of saprolite ore, in 2005 the joint venture commenced an HPAL operation on a stockpiled limonite resource of 16 million tonnes at 1.26 percent nickel and 0.094 percent cobalt (similar tonnage and grade parameters to ANLP).
At an initial capital cost of US$ 185 million, production ramped up to about 7,000 to nickel product per year [plus cobalt], and then to 10,000 tonnes. Capacity has subsequently been doubled to 21,000 tonnes nickel per year for an additional investment of US$ 308 million. Projected life (past and future) of the HPAL operation is 20 years. The partners have now commenced the development of a new, much larger HPAL operation in the Surigao District, where our Agata project is located.
Other laterite projects being advanced in the Philippines include the Acoje Project, Luzon Island, where Australian junior Rusina, now merged with European Nickel, is pilot-testing (Phase 2) a heap leach nickel laterite operation, and Norwegian company Intex, whose Mindoro Island HPAL project is at the final feasibility stage.
Agata's Competitive Advantages
Mindoro's nickel laterite projects have strong competitive advantages; the resources and prospects are located in an area of excellent infrastructure; in an established mining province, within two to three km of the ocean; a short shipping distance to China and other potential Asian markets; virtually all-year shipping season; and there is abundant limestone on site -- clearly a significant factor for any-acid based leach technology. Mindoro also controls a massive pyrite prospect, on tide water and a short barging distance away from Agata- which could become strategically important if sulphur prices escalate again.
Politically, the Surigao District is likely the most ideal political jurisdiction for mining in the Philippines, as an established mining district for copper, gold and nickel. Mindoro's resource is already covered by a large-scale mining permit (an MPSA), and has a granted Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).
Agata Development Concept
In recent years there has been an increasing trend towards advancing on-site, value-added processing of nickel laterite within the Philippines itself, rather than just shipping out low-value product.
Mindoro's primary objective is to establish a processing plant in close proximity to the resources. An initial DSO operation targeting both low (about 1 percent nickel) and medium to higher grade material (plus 1.4 percent nickel) to generate early cash flow is currently being evaluated, but only as an initial step to a processing operation.
The latest resource estimate and the large Exploration Target for northern Surigao substantially augment Mindoro's plans to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a local processing plant.
In addition to the scoping study and pre construction stage of the DSO, Mindoro will commence drilling the regional laterite Exploration Target in order to convert a significant proportion of the 50 million to 70 million DMT @ 0.9 percent to 1.2 percent Nickel Exploration Target to NI 43-101 compliant inferred to indicated resource estimate.
Detailed drilling will be required to move the Exploration Target into NI 43-101-compliant resources. The company's production objectives are intended to provide an indication of management's current expectations and are still conceptual in nature. There is no guarantee that these resources, if delineated, will be economic or sufficient to support a commercial mining operation. Until a feasibility study has been completed, there is no certainty that these objectives will be met.
|April 09, 2010||Mindoro Commences Infill Drilling of High Grade Nickel Laterite at Agata Project|
|March 15, 2010||Mindoro Receives Nickel Laterite Development Options Study|