LIONORE Australia Pty Ltd’s managing director Mark Ashley has been appointed chief executive officer of the subsidiary company LionOre Nickel.Development at LionOre Nickel’s Emily Ann Nickel project at Lake Johnston is well under way.Mr Ashley says the project, located 140km south of Hyden, is a vital asset to LionOre Australia Pty Ltd and its Toronto based parent company LionOre Mining International.“It is an important asset to LionOre International. We want to ensure its long-term success and growth,” he says.The project is now 100 per cent controlled by LionOre Nickel which, in an optimisational and rationalisation process, bought out early investors QNI (now Billeton BHP) and Capricorn Resources.Mr Ashley says this optimisation process was necessitated by the need for clarity in ownership, but it has helped the company get through the pre-production stages.“Once you start a project you’ll always go through an optimisation and rationalistion process,” he says.“We looked at this early, back in 1999, when we underwent a rationalisation of the project. Nickel prices weren’t too good and we had to identify ways to make Emily Ann feasible.”The price of nickel has doubled since the decision to take full ownership, and the plant is well on its way to sourcing the nickel deposits discovered in the Lake Johnston region.The $42 million dollar investment in the underground mine and the onsite plant are 70 per cent completed and LionOre Nickel hope to be producing its first nickel concentrate during the last quarter of 2001.
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