PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Base metals miner Independence Group has officially opened its Nova nickel/copper/cobalt mine, in Western Australia.
MD and CEO Peter Bradford told shareholders on Friday that Nova reached commercial production only five years after its initial discovery, with the project expected to reach nameplate capacity 12 months earlier than tipped in the bankable feasibility study.
“Nova is our flagship asset and represents the type of operation that Independence wants in its portfolio, a quality asset that is high margin, with scale and a long mining life, which anchors our presence in the Fraser Range where we are actively exploring to find the next Nova,” Bradford said.
At full production, Nova is expected to produce 26 000 t/y of contained nickel and 11 500 t/y of contained copper, at an all-in sustaining cost of A$1.83/lb. The project will initially operate for ten years.
In 2018, the mine is expected to deliver between 23 000 t and 27 000 t of nickel, between 10 000 t and 12 000 t of copper and between 800 t and 1 050 t of cobalt contained in concentrate.
Western Australian Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said on Friday that the operation was expected to employ about 400 staff during production.
“Production commencing at Nova is excellent news for the mining sector, especially as this is the first mine of its scale in the highly prospective Fraser Range,” Johnston said.
All of the nickel concentrate produced at Nova is sold to major BHP’s Nickel West division and to Glencore under existing offtake agreements, while all of the copper concentrate is sold to offtake partner Trafigura.