NiWest - A World Class Asset
GME through its subsidiary NiWest Ltd owns 100% of the NiWest Nickel Laterite Project located at Murrin Murrin in the North Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.
The project land holding is in excess 500 square kilometres hosting significant laterised ultramafic structures. The project contains a World Class nickel resource. Total metal content of over 1,000,000 tonnes of nickel has been defined by extensive drilling programs over the past three years.
The project, which has the potential to become a significant long term, low cost nickel producer through the development of a Heap Leach project, is located in close proximity to established infrastructure such as railway, nickel refineries, established townships, natural gas pipeline and bitumen road access. The project is sited in a predominately flat arid environment is considered to be highly conducive to the development of a Heap Leach operation.
Key attributes of the NiWest Nickel laterite project
- Metallurgical column leach test work completed on the major resource areas has recorded consistently 70 to 80 % Nickel recovery in 120 days
- BEST undeveloped Laterite Ni project in Australia
- Potential to become top-10 global nickel producer
- Pre-Feasibility completed in 2007
- Strong investment proposition underpinned by accepted heap leach technology
- Favourable environmental and climatic conditions for heap leaching
- Heap leach is a lower capital-cost alternative to HPAL, Atmospheric leach
- Environmental surveys are well advanced
- Water Exploration has commenced
Scoping Study by Bateman Tenova concluded:
- The study concluded that a heap leaching operation combined with a processing plant utilising Direct Solvent Extraction and Electrowinning (DSX –EW) to upgraded purified nickel solutions from the heap leach to produce LME nickel cathode via electrowinning is technologically and potentially economically sound.
- Optimum start up project to comprise a fully integrated 1.5 mtpa Combined Heap Leach - DSX-EW Process Plant.
- The study forecast a capital cost of $461 million for the NiWest Project which ranks it as one of the most capital competitive nickel laterite developments in the world.
- Development of a 1.5 mtpa heap leaching operation coupled to a DSX –EW processing plant would result in an Annual Production Rate of 14,000 tonnes nickel cathode and 540 tonnes cobalt.
- The average Life Of Mine operating cost is estimated to be US$5.68/lb.
- Project Net Present Value of A$934 million and Internal Rate of Return of 37%.
- The defined resources support a minimum 20 year operation with potential to extend further or scale up production.
- The study highlights that the proposed HL-DSX-EW processing route offers a significantly lower capital cost over the alternative and more complex High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) process.
NiWest Nickel Laterite Heap Leach Project
Metallurgical test work on the development of the flow sheet for NiWest Nickel Laterite Heap Leach-SX-EW project is currently on hold as an austerity measure. On completion of the Devon Gold Project the Company will be well funded and will undertake a review of all options to progress the flow sheet development for NiWest.