TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Base-metals producer TVI Pacific and its joint venture partner Mindoro Resources has reported that, as a result of positive bench-scale testwork carried out at the Agata nickel processing project, in the Philippines, pilot plant testing that would further define the technological parameters to be used in producing a bankable feasibility study, with the aim of building a commercial processing plant, has started.
The positive testwork on nickel laterite ore, from the Agata nickel laterite deposit, had confirmed that the ore was highly amenable to acid leaching, with a high rate of nickel extraction achieved at a low acid consumption rate.
The process technology TVI was developing, and which had produced these results, aimed to achieve a balance between the maximum nickel recovery and the lowest acid consumption, which would translate into increased metal production and lower operating costs.
The testwork had achieved 94% extraction rates for nickel, at a low acid consumption rate of 650 kg/t of ore.
To date, more than 70 leach tests had been concluded and the testing of the TVI pilot plant was expected to be complete by the third quarter.
"The process being developed could position the proposed Agata nickel processing plant among the lower cost producers," TVI CEO Cliff James said.
The Agata project is located in Agusan del Norte province, within the Surigao mining region on the island of Mindanao. The Surigao region is a significant nickel-producing region, providing ore to processing plants in Australia, China, Korea and Japan, some of which the Agata processing plant would capture.
The project was expected to start commercial production of between 7 000 t/y and 7 500 t/y of nickel in 2015.