Nickel exploration, mining and beneficiation company Atlantic Nickel says its Santa Rita mine, in Brazil, remains operational, with limited disruptions to the supply chain as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The mine completed its second and third shipments ahead of schedule and has produced more than 30 000 t of nickel concentrate to date.
First-quarter C1 costs were $3.29/lb.
Meanwhile, the underground mineral resource at Santa Rita has increased to 168-million tonnes at 0.59% nickel and 0.19% copper.
A preliminary economic assessment on a planned underground operation will be completed by the third quarter of this year.
Atlantic Nickel has identified a 25-plus-year life-of-mine operation based on the existing openpit ore reserves and the underground potential.
“Covid-19 is having a far-reaching impact on every country and industry sector. The health and safety of our people and local communities remains our foremost priority, and the decisive action we have taken during this difficult time has ensured our wellbeing, while allowing continuity of operations.
"Following Santa Rita’s re-start, I am delighted by the continued strong operational performance of the asset, which is testament to the ability of the Atlantic Nickel team, backed by Appian’s expertise and business model.
"Having returned the mine to production ahead of plan, we continue to optimise costs and identify opportunities for operational improvements and further expansion,” comments Atlantic Nickel & Appian Brazil CEO Paulo Castellari.
The owners of Santa Rita are advised by metals and mining investment advisory Appian Capital Advisory.
Santa Rita was operated by Australia’s Mirabela Nickel for six years prior to being placed on care and maintenance in 2015. In January, Mining Weekly reported that the mine was back in production, with Atlantic Nickel announcing the first sale of nickel concentrate from the mine that it bought in 2018.
The company notes that market demand for nickel sulphide concentrate has remained strong throughout the pandemic.