Three developing projects shine

The outlining of three cutting-edge developing nickel laterite projects was a highlight of the recent ALTA Nickel/Cobalt 2000 conference.

Comet Resources Limited process manager Geoff Miller forecast that construction on the Ravensthorpe nickel operation would commence early in 2001.

He told delegates the proposed plant will produce a mixed hydroxide product containing 35,000 tonnes of nickel and 1300t of cobalt per annum for over twenty years.

Development of the $720 million project has been underpinned by Billiton plc electing to acquire a 40 per cent stake in the project.

The strength of the Ravens-thorpe ore body is its amenability to beneficiation which will enable consistent ore feed to the pressure acid leach circuit grading 2 per cent nickel – by far the highest of any known nickel laterite deposit.

Another proposal, under development by Black Range Minerals NL, was the Syerston project, located about sixty-five kilometres north-west of Parkes in NSW.

Black Range executive director Geoff Motteram said a feasibility study had commenced on the project which has a capital cost of $640 million.

David Russell, of Argosy Miner-als Inc, focused on the company’s two large nickel laterite projects, both of which are high grade.

Argosy is investigating five sites suitable for tailing dams to progress its Nakety project in New Caledonia.

A decision was made to relocate the processing site to New Caledonia following design and engineering changes learned from the pioneering projects in WA.

Progress at its Musongati nickel laterite project in Burundi had been stymied, and the company has, as a result, declared force majeure.

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