Nickel export port ready next month
Rusina Mining Ltd has announced ongoing construction progress for the first nickel laterite ore shipments from its Acoje project in the Philippines, with local partner DMCI advising that the main pier at the Santa Cruz export port will be ready next month.This is despite interruptions caused by the current extended monsoonal conditions being experienced across South East Asia.Listed Philippines contracting group, DMCI Holdings Inc., Rusina’s mining, marketing and project operator partner for the Acoje nickel laterite Direct Shipping Operation (DSO) agreement, is currently completing the pier’s compacted graded fill, concrete interlocking vertical fending and reinforced concrete sea mats that will form a permanent sloping loading ramp for the ship side loading barges.DMCI says first ore shipments will leave the purpose-built Santa Cruz pier in November, instead of later next month, to allow for a definite end to the late season monsoonal conditions and a more cost effective use of ship side loading vessels. A small containerised shipment of higher grade (1.7% Ni) saprolite ore will be sent in October from Manila terminals as part of Acoje’s current bulk sampling program.Under an alliancing DSO contract at Acoje, DMCI is responsible for all funding, mining, grade control, rehabilitation, road and port developments works as well as the marketing and sales obligations of the contracted 5 million tonnes of laterite ore. Due to the wetter monsoon season in South East Asia, the mine to port road is not yet “all weather”, temporarily halting ore haulage movements as a precaution during heavy downpours.Despite these adverse conditions, contractors are continuing to build sufficient stockpiles at the port to service a continuous operation once the November shipping schedule is underway.At a later date, DMCI intends to construct an extended conveyor loading system at Santa Cruz that can directly load ships.DMCI has advised Rusina that the market for limonite ore remains firm for those ore stockpiles already at Santa Cruz and currently being transported from the mine. DMCI has firm sales orders and is currently discussing longer term contracts with several potential product purchasers. The three buyers of the bulk sample saprolite shipment of 25 containers (500t.) have all expressed firm interest in longer term contracts. However, any such saprolite contracts will need to be associated with any technological/economic contribution to the proposed DMCI/Rusina ferro-nickel furnace initiative.The November start to shipments is part of agreements with Rusina under which DMCI is totally funding the DSO operation and European Nickel PLC is funding the further development of the nickel laterite heap leach feasibility study. Rusina is well funded to complete its current aggressive exploration program on non-Acoje properties including the Sodaco, Abogado and Zambales Chromite Projects.