30% increase in Santa Rita resource

26 November 2007 | 03:29 Code : 16003 Geoscience events
Mirabela Nickel has announced an increase of 21 million tonnes in Measured....

  Mirabela Nickel has announced an increase of 21 million tonnes in Measured and Indicated Resource within open pit limits at its Santa Rita nickel project in Brazil, which represents a 30 percent increase in the in-pit resource since the previous estimate in June.Mirabela Managing Director, Nick Poll said the results move Mirabela’s primary Measured and Indicated Resource to 90 million tonnes at 0.60 percent Ni and re-affirm Santa Rita’s status as one of the world’s largest new sources of nickel. According to Mr Poll, an additional 10.7 million tonnes of Inferred Resource, grading 0.60 percent Ni, also lies within open pit limits. “This is a substantial increase in resources, which further cements Santa Rita’s position as one of the largest and most exciting new discoveries of nickel sulphide for many years and takes the project to the next level in terms of potential nickel production,” Mr Poll said. Mr Poll said Mirabela is working to deliver increased production capacity at Santa Rita. “Studies are already underway to increase capacity from the current 4.6 mtpa capacity to above 6.0 mtpa within the first year or two of operations. This would result in production of more than 25,000 tpa of nickel in concentrate, up 35 percent from the currently planned capacity,” he said. “Annual production of 25,000 tonnes of nickel and a mine life of at least 17 years will make Mirabela the largest independent nickel producer in the world and there are only a handful of producers that can source this amount of production from one open-cut mine. “This is encouraging Mirabela to look even harder at downstream processing options, such as a smelter, to capture as much value as it can from the resource base,” Mr Poll said. Mirabela has commenced a new drilling program to prove up deeper resource with underground potential and studies are underway to determine the best underground mining methods and likely costs.

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