JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diversified minerals exploration company African Eagle Resources’ Zanzui nickel laterite project, in Tanzania, has shown “promising” results, with acid leach test results comparable to that of its Dutwa project.
The results of the acid leach test, which was undertaken by South African minerals-research body Mintek, indicated nickel extraction averaging 71% on a solid basis, with low sulphuric acid consumption of 185 kg/t on average, the company reported on Monday.
These results were comparable to the data from the company's Dutwa laterite deposit, it added.
“Whilst Dutwa remains our primary focus and the company's efforts will be directed towards completing the feasibility study now commenced there, the Zanzui results are very favourable,” African Eagle MD Mark Parker said in a statement.
He added that geological mapping, together with the results of the limited drilling to date, suggested that the nickel grades at Zanzui appeared to be marginally lower than at Dutwa.
However, the geographical extent of the Zanzui complex was “much greater”, which meant that the laterite resource could be even larger than the Dutwa prospect.
“The deposit's similarities to Dutwa show that we may have identified a whole province of easily leachable nickel laterites in northern Tanzania. This augurs well for the long-term sustainability of African Eagle's nickel activities in this promising region,” noted Parker.
The Dutwa nickel laterite project had a Joint Ore Reserve Committee-compliant resource of 31-million tons.
Australian firm GRD Minproc, in June, determined that atmospheric leaching with the production of intermediate hydroxide or sulphide products was the best process option for the resource, but said that heap leaching would also be a viable option.
African Eagle reported last month that the Dutwa project could become a low-cost mine by 2012, by which time some analysts were forecasting a nickel price of $8/lb.