Re: Nickel and Indonesia
Toledo Mining, TMC.L
ATLAS TO PRODUCE 15,000T OF NICKEL FROM PHILLIPINE MINE THIS YEAR
By Dionne Kho
Singapore, -- Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp expects to produce about 15,000 tonnes of nickel metal from its PHP 1.2 billion ($25 million) nickel mine in the Philippines, executive vp Martin Buckingham told MB.
The direct-shipping mine was commissioned in January and has sent out seven shipments so far totalling 350,000 tonnes of nickel ore at an average grade of 1.6 percent nickel content, or 5,600 tonnes of nickel metal, he said.
The 288-hectare Berong Nickel Project, in the Philippine province of Palawan. is estimated to hold 275.4 million tonnes of ore at 1.3 percent nickel.
This makes it the fourth largest nickel resource in the world with 3.6 million tonnes of contained nickel, Buckingham claimed.
The mine is expected to ramp up production to 9 million tpy of ore by 2011, he said, without giving the exact tonnage of nickel metal.
This could mean a production of 117,000 tonnes of nickel, going by the estimated average grade of 1.3 percent, which could make it the largest nickel mine in the world.
"We have the advantage of being very close to China where there's substantial demand and the mine is just 11km to the port which we built. The mine produces very high grade ore and it's a huge resource, so certainly we are looking at substantial off take agreements," he said.
He would not confirm local reports that Atlas is negotiating to supply 50 percent of the Quezon mine output to BHP Billiton's Yabulu refinery in Townsville, Australia, saying only that Atlas is discussing off take deals with a number of companies from China, Japan and Australia, including BHP.
The mine is managed by Berong Nickel Corp, a joint venture between Atlas (25.2 percent) and London-listed Toledo Mining Corporation (56.1 percent). Australia-listed mining house Investika holding a minority 18.7-percent stake, said Buckingham.
An on-site, large scale smelting and/or acid leach operation is in the pipeline, he added.