FORRESTANIA, Mar. 19 -- Nickel miner Western Areas NL says it will likely exceed forecasts for March quarter production at its Flying Fox mine while an ore reserve for its planned Spotted Quoll mine is better than expected.
The company says output from the Flying Fox operation in Western Australia's Forrestania region would exceed forecast tonnes and grade in the current quarter as a result of its T4 expansion being completed in the December quarter.
Mine production averaged about 1,000 tonnes a month for January and February and is forecast to rise in the June quarter as the removal of high-grade ore at its T5 expansion commences.
Western Areas said development of T5 started earlier than expected.
The company also said in a statement on Friday that ore production from the Tim King open pit at the Spotted Quoll project, also in the Forrestania region, was on track to commence next month, with output expected to ramp up rapidly in the September quarter.
Western Areas has estimated a probable ore reserve of 1.725 million tonnes at an average grade of 4.1 per cent nickel containing about 70,200 tonnes of the metal from the area below the Tim King pit.
"Western Areas is very encouraged with the result, which should underpin a long mine life of high-grade production from this project," the company said.
The company said a feasibility study for the next stage of the Spotted Quoll project, an underground operation, was due to be completed in August.
Development of the decline - a ramp down to the underground deposit - is slated to commence in the March quarter of 2011.
Total probable ore reserves at Spotted Quoll, including the Tim King pit, stand at 2.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 4.3 per cent nickel containing 90,100 tonnes of nickel.