With funding now materially advanced and board approval in place, Mincor says it has issued a “Notice to Proceed” to its underground mining contractor, Pit N Portal, to start work at the Kambalda Nickel Operations in Western Australia.
In line with the binding contract executed in May 2020, Pit N Portal has 60 days to plan and mobilise for commencement of the contract.
The announcement of a final investment decision for the planned re-commencement of nickel mining at Kambalda by Mincor is supported by a credit approved term sheet agreed with two Tier-1 international banks to provide a secured A$55 million ($40 million) project finance facility. The facility, together with the company’s existing cash reserves of more than A$100 million, will allow Mincor to efficiently execute the delivery of its nickel restart plan in line with the definitive feasibility study (DFS) announced in March 2020, it said.
The contract with Pit N Portal encompasses a five-year pact for the new Cassini nickel mine, where early surface works were recently completed, and a three-year contract (plus one two-year option) at the Northern Operations (the brownfields Durkin North and Long nickel mines – both of which are on care and maintenance having previously operated). These two assets (Cassini and Northern Operations) make up the planned nickel operation.
Mincor says there are already several Pit N Portal personnel on-site following the commencement of an early works program.
“With all required key environmental and State Government permitting in place to commence, Mincor anticipates that mobilisation will ramp-up quickly over the coming weeks, with commercial mine development and surface construction expected to be in full swing during the December 2020 quarter,” the company said.
Subject to unforeseen delays, Mincor is targeting commencement of ore production early in the December 2021 quarter. First ore delivery to the BHP Nickel West Kambalda nickel concentrator and first nickel concentrate production is expected in the March 2022 quarter.
The “Mincor Nickel Operations” DFS from earlier this year confirmed the potential to develop a five‐year operation forecast to produce 71,000 t of nickel and 5,000 t of copper on a life-of-mine basis, with peak annual nickel-in-concentrate production of more than 16,000 t/y at a forecast life of mine unit cost of $2.35/lb.