Mincor Resources NL has awarded an underground mining contract for its 100 per cent-owned Kambalda Nickel Operations in Western Australia to Kalgoorlie-based underground mining services and equipment hire group, Pit N Portal (PNP).
The contract encompasses a five-year underground mining contract for the new Cassini Nickel Mine, where early surface works were recently completed, and a three-year contract (plus one two-year option) at Mincor’s Northern Operations (the brownfields Durkin North and Long Nickel Mines).
The contract was awarded following the completion of a competitive tender process and an extensive due diligence process examining safety, Kambalda underground experience and performance, capabilities, equipment availability and cost.
Mincor advised that all key components of the contract are in line with the parameters set out in the Nickel Restart Definitive Feasibility Study completed in March 2020, which was based on an initial five-year operation from two production centres with all ore processed at BHP Nickel West’s Kambalda Nickel Concentrator and the resulting nickel concentrate sold to BHP.
Mincor has executed a binding contract with PNP subject to a Notice to Proceed being issued by Mincor before 31 March 2021. Should the Notice not be issued by then, either party can terminate the contract, or the time period can be extended by mutual agreement. After receiving the Notice, PNP will have up to 60 calendar days to plan and mobilise for commencement of the contract.
Mincor is targeting the commencement of mining operations at Kambalda in the second half of CY2020, subject to Board approval and a Final Investment Decision (FID) on its Nickel Restart Plan.
Mincor’s Managing Director, David Southam, said the award of the contract to a Kalgoorlie-based business was consistent with the company’s commitment to maximise local content, to support local businesses and communities, and to create opportunities for a residential workforce wherever possible.
“We selected Pit N Portal based on a wide range of criteria including safety, performance, contract cost, experience and capability, ability to meet our mobilisation timelines and the size and quality of their contract fleet,” Mr Southam said.
“Their equipment fleet suits our proposed style of mining and, as one of Australia’s largest hard-rock underground mining equipment solutions providers, we will have access to a large range of equipment options and high-class maintenance and rebuild capacity – giving us significant operational and strategic flexibility, which is important when operating a number of underground mines.”
“This includes having access to the Emeco operating system (EOS), which could add significant value to future operations, as well as having a contracting partner that is willing to embrace the very latest in mining technology and data management and usage, including the proposed use of underground electric vehicles which we have already trialled.”
“This will be a cornerstone contract for PNP, ensuring we will have access to their highly-experienced Kalgoorlie-based leadership team, several members of whom worked previously at Mincor’s Kambalda nickel mines.”
Mr Southam noted the contract award also encompasses a joint commitment to support indigenous employment, consistent with the principles of the Native Title Mining Agreement which the mining company signed recently with the Ngadju People.
“The award of this contract fulfils another commitment we made to shareholders as part of our capital raising last year and puts us in a strong position as we move into the advanced stages of project financing,” he said.
According to Mincor, all works associated with the Early Works Contract at the Cassini Project have now been completed on budget.
These works included clearing of the Cassini site area, excavation of the box-cut, construction of the site office pad, magazine and waste areas and construction of the surface settling dams and haul road.