Brazil’s Atlantic Nickel has resumed commercial production at its vast Santa Rita mine in the northeastern state of Bahia and said the first sale of concentrate will be shipped this month.
The operation, one the world’s
largest open pit nickel sulphide mines, was halted in 2015 due to low nickel
prices. Plans to restart activities were set in motion when Appian Capital
Advisory acquired the mine through the bankruptcy process of its previous
operator, Mirabela Nickel, in 2018.
Santa Rita is a fully permitted,
past-producing nickel mine with an estimated annual production capacity of
6.5 million tonnes of nickel in sulphide concentrate.
Since blasting restarted in July,
Atlantic Nickel has achieved several operational milestones on or ahead of
schedule. Refurbishment of the plant is complete, and the ramp-up of
commissioning activities has resulted in early production of nickel concentrate,
the miner said.
To date, Atlantic Nickel has
produced over 11,000 tonnes and has entered into a three-year offtake contract
for a portion of Santa Rita’s production plus a $40.8 million financing
arrangement with Trafigura.
“The deal provides the remaining funding required for the restart of the project and establishes a strong relationship with a best-in-class global commodities trading firm,” the miner said in the statement.
Following on recent drilling
results, an updated open pit reserve statement is planned for completion in the
first quarter of 2020 and the company expects to undertake further drilling this
year to continue to grow and define the long life underground resource
Nickel was, by far, the best
performer among the London Metal Exchange’s metals last year and is set to
remain strong due to an expedited ban on nickel ore exports from Indonesia effective
Jan. 1, 2020.
Written by Cecilia Jamasmie.
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