Mincor Resources NL has announced the official opening of the Cassini Nickel Mine, the cornerstone of its Kambalda Nickel Operations in Western Australia.
Mincor embarked on a strategy to restart nickel production in 2019 and has achieved numerous milestones in the past 18 months including securing a processing and sales solution via a landmark agreement with BHP Nickel West, raising $95.6 million in equity capital and securing a $55 million project finance facility.
First nickel concentrate is on track to be delivered in the first quarter of 2022, ushering in an exciting new era of nickel mining in Kambalda and, in the process, transforming Mincor into a new-generation high-grade nickel sulphide producer ideally positioned to capitalise on what is widely expected to be a new era of demand for the metal driven by the renewable energy and electric vehicle sectors.
As per the March 2020 Definitive Feasibility Study, production is forecast to ramp-up to approximately 16,000 tonnes per annum of nickel-in-concentrate, with ore from two underground mines (Cassini and the Northern Operations, comprising the Durkin North and Long mines) to be processed at BHP’s Kambalda Nickel Concentrator, with the resulting nickel concentrate sold to BHP.
Mincor expects that its nickel concentrate will ultimately be processed into nickel sulphate for use in the rapidly growing global EV battery industry.
The development of the Kambalda Nickel Operations involves a pre-production capital investment of $68 million and is expected to create more than 200 long-term direct jobs during operations with more than 95 per cent of this expenditure being spent in Western Australia.
Mincor’s Managing Director, David Southam, said the official opening of the first new nickel sulphide mine in the region in over a decade is a proud moment, and one that signals the start of a new chapter for this world-renowned nickel district.
“We are also deeply honoured that the Woodall family has allowed us to celebrate the legacy of Dr Roy Woodall AO, the ‘father of Kambalda’, by naming the Cassini Decline the ‘Woodall Decline’. This is a wonderful symbolic connection between Kambalda’s rich past and its exciting future as a key supplier to the booming battery metals sector, fuelled by the burgeoning electric-vehicle industry worldwide.”
Mincor’s Chairman, Brett Lambert, said resuming nickel sulphide mining in Kambalda, and in an environmentally responsible and ethical manner that will see the nickel province return to the forefront of Class-1 nickel production globally, will play a key role in the impending global energy transformation.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said to open a mine only a few short years after a massive market downturn and during a pandemic is close to a miracle.
“I congratulate the Mincor team for the courage and tenacity they have demonstrated in backing its exploration geologists and developing this significant new mine,” he said.
“It is fitting that this milestone in the history of Western Australia’s resources sector pays tribute to Dr Roy Woodall, a visionary who knew exploration is risky, but absolutely essential.”
“Exploration is the lifeblood of Western Australia’s resources sector and if it leads to a new mine, then new jobs are created.”