NQ Minerals PLC (AQUIS:NQMI, OTCQB:NQMLF) has unveiled a significant expansion of resources at the Barnes Hill nickel project, as lower grade material is folded into estimates.
The new resource now stands at 25mln tonnes, at 0.6% nickel and 0.05% cobalt, up from 14mln tonnes.
Additionally, the group said, findings from metallurgical test work has supported a new flowsheet which is now set to form the basis of the base case in a pre-feasibility study. It includes three stage leaching and screening for lower grade materials will allow the material to be ‘upgraded’.
It also envisages that it will be able to dry-stack laterite waste back into the original pit, thus removing the need for a tailings dam.
“The completion of this testwork and commencement of engineering sees the Barnes Hill project starting to take on physical shape,” David Lenigas, NQ Minerals’ chairman said in a statement.
“The lower cut-off Mineral Resource estimates for Barnes Hill, Scotts Hill and Mt Vulcan provides support for our long-term plans for the Beaconsfield region.”
Lenigas, meanwhile, highlighted that the new resource means the mine could supply a plant of the planned scale for well over 20 years.
“Our close proximity to the deep-water port at Bell Bay in Tasmania also suggests opportunities to import and blend in high-grade ore to boost feed grades and extend the life of the Barnes Hill mine even further,” he added.
Project economics could be further engineered if downstream development can be added, which according to Lenigas could take advantage of the company’s plans for the neighbouring Beaconsfield gold site.
“We expect to make an announcement on the final plant location in the near term,” Lenigas said.
“We are already speaking to off-takers and battery industry players and believe there is strong support for this development.”