Santa Rita has had 'outstanding' year - Atlantic Nickel

9th February 2022

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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Atlantic Nickel, the owner of Brazil nickel and copper assets that Sibanye-Stillwater previously planned to buy, has had an “outstanding” year at its Santa Rita nickel/copper mine, leaving the company in its strongest financial position yet.

Santa Rita in 2021 produced 107 000 dry metric tonnes of nickel concentrate, containing 14 500 t of nickel, 4 700 t of copper and 266 t of cobalt, at an all-in sustaining cost of $5.11/lb nickel.

The strong operational performance resulted in Atlantic posting earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of $127-million on $289-million of revenue.

"Atlantic Nickel has achieved record revenue and Ebitda, first quartile C1 cost performance and now boasts its most resilient balance sheet ever, all while maintaining a best-in-class safety track record with an LTIFR of 0.20. These strong foundations position us to take advantage of the high growth potential at Santa Rita and in the region, expanding upon what is already one of the largest nickel sulphide operations in the world,” said Appian Capital Brazil CEO Paulo Castellari.

Addressing the November geotechnical event, which resulted in Sibanye-Stillwater backing out of its planned $1-billion acquisition of Atlantic Nickel, the company said that the overall impact to mining activity was limited and that there was no expected impact from the event on the life-of-mine openpit reserve.

Atlantic Nickel stated third-party geotechnical experts had evaluated the stability of the area affected by the geotechnical event and the design of a pushback to remediate it. The pushback mines 4.7-million tonnes of waste material, 2.6-million tonnes of which falls outside of the final design pit limit.

Besides impacts to the mine schedule, the 2.6-million tonnes of waste would add to the total material to be mined during the remaining openpit mine life. Prior to the event, more than 140-million tonnes of openpit material remained to be mined, and so the additional material equates to a less than 2% increase. With the underground extension, the increase was less than 1% of total material mined, Atlantic Nickel said.

Mining of the pushback started in December and is expected to be completed early in the second half of 2022.

Looking ahead, Atlantic Nickel said that the operation would maintain its current production levels in 2022, processing 6.4-million tonnes a year of ore, producing 19 000 t of nickel-equivalent contained in concentrate.

"We have more to improve upon and accomplish in 2022, and I have every confidence in our team's ability to deliver another record year," said Castellari.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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