European Nickel Shifts Focus to Philippines
The definitive feasibility study for the Acoje project has been in progress since March 2009. A heap leach trial will begin during the first quarter of 2011. According to the company, a sig- nificant amount of the metallurgical information developed and compiled at Çaldağ is also transferable to the Acoje definitive feasibility study.
A positive prefeasibility study con- firmed an economically viable nickel heap leach project at Acoje. The base- case scenario calls for an operation pro- ducing 24,500 mt/y of nickel mixed hydroxide product over an initial 10- year mine. Conversion of current inferred resources to indicated resources offers significant potential to extend the mine life. The pre-feasibility study estimated the Acoje project’s net present value at $586 million at a dis- count rate of 10% and its internal rate of return at 37.2%, using a long-term prices of $7/lb for nickel and $10/lb for cobalt.
Commenting the company’s plans, Managing Director Rob Gregory said, “European Nickel is determined to become a nickel producer through cap- italizing on our low-cost, heap leach technology. While we are disappointed that, despite repeated assurances, the forestry permit for the Çaldağ project has yet to be re-issued, we do have an equally viable alternative project in Acoje which has the potential to be sig- nificantly larger and longer life than Çaldağ. We cannot tread water indefi- nitely at Çaldağ until the permit is re- issued. The board believes our efforts and resources are better deployed at Acoje in the meantime.”
European Nickel also reported that, by mutual agreement, the Çaldağ off- take contract with BHP Billiton for 100% of the mixed hydroxide product has been terminated.