Independence Group’s nickel output SAGs on mill liner issue

A SAG mill liner issue at Independence Group’s Nova nickel operation in the Fraser Range of Western Australia has seen the miner miss its annual production guidance for the financial year.

The problem, which saw a reduction in processing plant availability in the second half of June, resulted in an 800 tonne shortfall in nickel output, Independence said. The company produced 22,258t in the 12 months to the end of June, compared with its 23,000-27,000t guidance.

Independence said it is rectifying the situation: “The SAG mill liners are currently being replaced in a planned processing plant shutdown and are not expected to affect availability or productivity going forward.”

Even with this setback, the company produced 7,344t of nickel metal in the June quarter, up 23% from the March quarter. Independence noted that, as planned, tonnes mined, and milled, ore grades and metallurgical recoveries continued to improve.

Nova has a nameplate 1.5 million tonne per annum ore capacity with a primary crushing, two-stage grinding and differential flotation circuit. It has both a 2.4MW SAG mill and 2.4MW ball mill.

The mine, which produced its first concentrate in October 2016, is expected to average more than 26,000t of nickel, 11,000t of copper and 1,000t of cobalt annually.