LionOre Mining International Ltd has announced the go-ahead for the Maggie Hays upgrade project at its Lake Johnston nickel operations east of Perth.A feasibility study concluded that the project would increase production by approximately 20 per cent to over 14,000 tonnes per annum payable nickel by the end of 2006 and increase nickel reserves threefold. The fully owned Lake Johnston operations comprise the Emily Ann mine, which has been in production since 2001, and the Maggie Hays mine. The Maggie Hays upgrade project has two components: an expansion of the existing underground mining operations and the upgrade of the processing plant capacity to 1.5mtpa, scheduled to be commissioned during the fourth quarter of 2006. Total pre-production capital is estimated at $US69 million and will be funded from operating cash flows. The expanded Maggie Hays underground mine will become the principal ore source for the Lake Johnston operations, replacing ore from Emily Ann, which will cease production by the end of 2006. This follows the recent resignation of Mark Ashley as managing director of LionOre Australia and director of LionOre Mining International, effective May 31 2006.
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