SMM9, March 17: according to recent reports, the private mining company Atlantic Nickel has announced plans to launch an underground nickel sulphide project in northeastern Brazil at a capital cost of US $335 million, starting in 2026.
The company, owned by Appian Capital Advistory, a UK private equity fund, has issued a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for its Santa Rita nickel-copper-cobalt mine, one of the largest open-pit nickel sulphide mines in the world.
Since Atlantic Nickel resumed open-pit mining in August 2019, it has produced 48000 tons of nickel concentrate. The open-pit mine is planned to last for eight years, after which it will transition to underground mining operations, extending the life of the mine to 34 years.
PEA estimates that over the past eight years, open-pit mines have produced 20000 to 25000 tons of nickel equivalent annually, while underground operations will produce 40000 to 45000 tons of nickel equivalent per year.
According to the head of the Appian finance team, because the grade of nickel in the deposit increases with depth, and the grade of nickel almost doubles, PEA not only outlines the extension of mine life, but also increases nickel production as a result of the increase in grade.
The company plans to start a pre-feasibility study on the project next year.
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