Metallurgical and smelting testwork conducted on dual-listed Horizonte’s Vermelho nickel/cobalt project has returned positive results, confirming the project’s potential to produce high-grade, commercial specification ferronickel from saprolite and transition ore.
Vermelho is Horizonte’s second development project in Brazil, after Araguaia. The projects are within trucking distance from one another.
Tests of Vermelho saprolite samples returned an average ferronickel grade of 31.8% nickel, Horizonte said on Thursday, noting that the ferronickel product was of high quality, low in trace elements and meeting the commercial requirement of stainless-steel manufacturers.
“These results confirm the suitability of the proposed conventional rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) process selected for the Araguaia ferronickel project is also suitable for processing Vermelho ore. In parallel the testwork at SGS Lakefield on limonite samples from Vermelho to demonstrate its suitability for production of high-purity nickel and cobalt sulphate to supply the electric vehicle battery markets is at an advanced stage and we look forward to reporting on the results of this work,” said Horizonte CEO Jeremy Martin.
The prefeasibility for Vermelho is under way and the data from the testwork and the work being undertaken by SGS Lakefield, will be incorporated into the study.
“Gobal growth in nickel consumption is running at around 4% to 5% per year with stainless steel currently accounting for two-thirds of demand. Going forwards and coupled with this continued growth in stainless steel, nickel use in battery chemistry is set to increase significantly. This robust demand story for nickel positions Horizonte well, owning 100% of two Tier 1 nickel projects, within trucking distance of each other with the potential to produce 40 000 to 50 000 t/y of nickel.”