PERTH (miningweekly.com) - The $1.5-billion Ramu nickel/cobalt mine, in Papua New Guinea, has loaded its maiden shipment from the Basamuk process plant, ASX-listed Highlands Pacific reported on Wednesday.
“This is a major milestone for the project and will be the first of many shipments to follow. This maiden shipment from commissioning is only a relatively small amount; however, as the project builds to its full capacity the shipment will increase,” said Highlands Pacific MD John Gooding.
The shipment consisted of 576 t of mixed nickel cobalt hydroxide intermediate product, containing some 217 t of nickel and 19 t of cobalt. The product was being exported to a Chinese customer.
Year-to-date, some 9 465 t of mixed nickel/cobalt hydroxide intermediate product has been produced, containing around 3 536 to of nickel and 322 t of cobalt.
Once in full production, by mid-2013, the Ramu project would produce some 31 150 t/y of nickel and 3 300 t/y of cobalt, placing it as one of the world’s top-15 nickel producers.
Highlands Pacific holds an 8.56% interest in the Ramu project, which would increase to 11.3% after the repayment of the project debt. The company further has the option to acquire an additional 9.25% at fair market value, which would increase its interest to 20.55%.