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LionOre to owner-operate mine

PERTH-BASED LionOre Australia has announced that it will begin an owner-operator arrangement at its 80 per cent owned Black Swan nickel sulphide mine, following the voluntary administration of previous contractor Henry Walker Eltin Contracting. The operation was formerly 80 per cent owned by MPI Mines, however LionOre became the majority shareholder when it acquired MPI in December last year. LionOre says it intends to offer HWE employees new contracts with it or other contractors on site. In 1995 MPI discovered the project in joint venture with founding shareholder Outokumpu. In 1998, MPI sold its interest in Black Swan to Finland-based Outokumpu, which continued operations. However, in July 2002, MPI Nickel, 80 per cent owned by MPI and 20 per cent by OMG, agreed to buy out Outokumpu’s interest in the project. The production of nickel concentrate commenced in June 1997. “The particular circumstances at Black Swan have necessitated that we take this action to reduce the business risk to the organisation and to provide LionOre with the flexibility to directly manage the people and the assets at the mine,” LionOre’s managing director Mark Ashley said.

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