Horizonte Minerals, the nickel development company focused in Brazil, reports progress to date of the on-going feasibility study (FS) being undertaken by Worley Parsons Canada Services on its 100%-owned Araguaia nickel project. The company is developing Araguaia as Brazil’s next ferro-nickel mine.
Araguaia, which is 100% owned by Horizonte, is located on the eastern margin of the State of Pará, north-eastern Brazil, to the north of the town of Conceição do Araguaia (population of 46,206), south of the main Carajás Mining District.
The project has good regional infrastructure including a network of Federal highways and roads, with access to low tariff hydro-electric power. The Carajás Mining District, situated some 200 km northwest of Araguaia, is host to a number of major iron and copper mines operated by Vale.
The PFS released in October 2016 considers open pit mining for the exploitation of nickel laterite to establish the production of run of mine (ROM) from eight open pits to supply a targeted 0.9 Mt/y of ore to a processing and smelter facility. This facility will use the proven RKEF process with the product being sold at free on board (FOB) at the selected port of export.
A Base Case of 0.9 Mt/y production throughput was selected because of the objective to minimise the capital expenditure and overall capital intensity, and to optimise overall cash flow, payback, and the economics of the project.
The FS is progressing on schedule and is over 60% complete, with targeted completion Q4 2017 into Q1 2018.
Process Design and Engineering
- Major equipment packages issued to the market to assemble capital costs estimates
- Power line route from national grid to plant substation finalised
- Site layout work substantially complete and 3D model developed
- Manning tables and organisational structure for future nickel operation concluded
Geology and Mining
- Mine planning and design is at an advanced stage of completion
- Geotechnical sampling and testwork completed to support engineering design in the process plant areas and appropriate pit design
Social & Environmental
- Finalised environmental control plans for the Installation Licence ready to be submitted to the State Environmental Agency in Q3 2017
- Sustainability team progressing towards the water pipeline and energy transmission line installation licences
Horizonte CEO Jeremy Martin said, “We are making good progress towards the completion of the feasibility study and with over 60% of the work streams complete to date the feasibility study remains on schedule to be completed on budget around the end of the year with targeted publishing in early 2018.
“The next major milestone and de-risking step for the project will be the award of the Installation Licence, which allows construction to start. We are now in a position to submit all the documentation for the Installation Licence to the environmental agency in Q3 2017 with a view to the award of the licence in Q1 2018.
“There has been a steady increase in the nickel price over the last eight weeks with prices now over $11,000/t, this aligned with our project milestones over the next 12 months should see increased interest in the company as we advance the project through to the construction stage.”