03/08/2009 - 15:22

Mirabela starts mining at Santa Rita

03/08/2009 - 15:22

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Mirabela Nickel has announced a major milestone with production starting at its Santa Rita open-cut nickel mine in Brazil.

Mirabela Nickel has announced a major milestone with production starting at its Santa Rita open-cut nickel mine in Brazil.

Managing director Nick Poll announced today at the Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie that Mirabela had become the first Australian company to mine nickel in Brazil.

Mr Poll said the start of Santa Rita operations was a major milestone for Mirabela.

"It's the largest nickel sulphite discovery worldwide in over a decade, and Mirabela is striving to be the largest independent nickel producer in the world," Mr Poll said.

"We think it's a great result for an independently owned company, and particularly an Australian company."

The announcement follows a significantly oversubscribed private placement of $117.5 million on July 29 to institutional investors in Australia, Europe and Canada.

Mirabela corporate director Craig Burton said the capital raising gave Mirabela full financing to commence its operations, but also reflected a turnaround in attitude towards base metals.

"It did cover some cost overruns, which are hard to avoid in completing these mines, but what was particularly supporting was the level of support which the capital raising got," Mr Burton said.

"In Australia the capital raising was five times oversubscribed and that was quite a surprise, both to us at Mirabela, and also to our brokers.

"I think it just shows how much the market has warmed, perhaps in the last 3 weeks, to base metals.

"There's been so much talk in the market about how base metals are down and out, how nickel supply is too high, copper as well, zinc in particular, but I think there's a different story out now and it really showed in that capital raising."

The plant at the Santa Rita mine is expected to be completed in late September.

 

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