NQ Minerals has completed binding agreements to acquire 100% of Tasmania Energy Metals Pty Ltd (“TEM”) and its 100% owned Barnes Hill Nickel-Cobalt project.
The investment is targeted towards the development of a new low-cost long life nickel/cobalt/gold/silver operation planned for the Beaconsfield area in Tasmania. The plant would use NQ’s pyrite/precious metals concentrates from the Hellyer Mine for the supply of locally produced sulfuric acid.
NQ plans to develop a 6,000 tonne per annum nickel plant based on the Barnes Hill Project’s nickel and cobalt mineral resource which contains 14.3 million tonnes at 0.72% nickel and 0.05% cobalt (on a 0.5% Ni cut-off). These resources are all located within 120km of the Hellyer operations.
Project milestones include:
- Environmental permitting process for the Barnes Hill mine commenced.
- Prefeasibility Study underway targeting annual throughput of 630,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of nickel ore and 240,000 tpa of Hellyer’s pyrite/precious metal concentrate.
- Based on metallurgical testwork performed to date, the project is being scoped to produce 6,000 tpa of contained nickel and 350 tpa of contained cobalt, and 22,500 oz of gold and 456,000 oz of silver that would be extracted from the Hellyer pyrite/precious metal concentrates.
Integrated Strategy with Hellyer
NQ is pleased at the progress being made towards establishing an integrated downstream mining and processing operation. The new Mineral Resource estimates for TEM’s Scotts Hill and Mt Vulcan deposits more than doubles their available nickel and cobalt resource. TEM is working towards a feasibility study that targets more than 20 years of plant feed.
- Integrated facility to utilise the pyrite produced from the Hellyer Mine in co-production with nickel and cobalt.
- The facility would enable NQ to recover the precious and base metals contained in its pyrite/precious metal concentrate.
- Sulphuric acid goes from the single biggest operating cost to a profit generator.
- Total JORC Resource now 14.3Mt at 0.72% Ni and 0.05% Co (0.5% Ni cut-off) within a larger mineralised system of 25.8Mt at 0.56% Ni and 0.05% Co (0% Ni cut-off).
- Mining area already drilled to 50m centres with 12.5m traversing line (716 holes at Barnes Hill, 63 at Scotts Hill & Mt Vulcan).
- Mine Reserve previously issued for Barnes Hill based on simple open pit mining with a low stripping ratio.
For further details (including JORC tables) for the Barnes Hill, Scotts Hill and Mount Vulcan resources, please view the summary available here.