European Nickel Shifts Focus to Philippines

European Nickel announced in Decem- ber 2010 it had placed its Çaldağ pro- ject in Turkey on care and maintenance until receipt of a necessary forestry per- mit and that it will fast-track the defin- itive feasibility study for its Acoje nick- el laterite project on Luzon Island in the Philippines. The Çaldağ technical team will be transferred to the Acoje project.

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.

As featured in Womp 2011 Vol 01 -