Positive scoping study for Metallica’s NORNICO project
Metallica Minerals says a scoping study has confirmed its flagship NORNICO nickel, cobalt and scandium project, 250km north-west of Townsville, North Queensland, is technically and financially viable.
Metallica Minerals chief executive Gavin Becker.
According to Metallica, the key outtake from the scoping study was that NORNICO can be a financially-robust project, with strong operating margins given reasonable long term commodity price and exchange rate assumptions.
The study determined NORNICO had nickel-cobalt and scandium resources to support a 750,000tpa operation over a 20 year mine life.
Metallica chief executive, Gavin Becker, said the study had also confirmed that mining at NORNICO would be low cost and straightforward, because the deposits are close to the surface and have low strip ratios.
IMC Mining completed the mining studies. It found that the resources could be mined as a very shallow open pit with simple truck and shovel operation, using a small mining fleet.
The scoping study estimated NORNICO would have average annual operating costs of $138m and an average annual operating margin of $179m. The study says this would give the project a NPV of $402m and an internal rate of return of 16.4%.
Metallica’s scandium extraction test work has produced scandium oxide with a purity greater than 99.9%. The company now plans to commence a pre-feasibility study for NORNICO.