Ivanhoe Electric secures 60% stake in Côte d'Ivoire nickel/copper project

25th March 2024 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

Ivanhoe Electric secures 60% stake in Côte d'Ivoire nickel/copper project

Robert Friedland chairs Ivahoe Electric

US-based Ivanhoe Electric has completed its earn-in agreement, now holding a 60% interest in the Samapleu-Grata nickel and copper project in Côte d'Ivoire, having spent the required C$25-million by March 2024.

The project is now a 60:40 joint venture between Ivanhoe Electric, chaired by Robert Friedland, and TSX-V-listed Sama Resources, which recently disclosed a new preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the project.

“We are particularly encouraged by the significant improvement in both the quality and quantity of potential future copper concentrate production at the project compared to earlier studies,” Ivanhoe president and CEO Taylor Melvin said in a statement on Monday.

According to the 2024 PEA, the project boasts the potential for a conventional openpit mining operation, projecting average yearly production of 38 627 t of a 26% copper concentrate and 55 119 t  of a 13% nickel concentrate through a process plant with a 5.475-million-tonne-a-year capacity.

On average, the project will produce an average of 7 165 t/y of nickel metal and 10 043 t/y of copper metal in concentrate.

The PEA further reveals promising financial viability, with an after-tax net present value of $275-million and an internal rate of return of 22.3%.

The project is slated to require a capital investment of $338-million, with an aftertax payback period of 3.8 years.

These projections are based on a long-term nickel price of $8.83/lb and a copper price of $3.99/lb.

The study focuses only on the Grata, Main and Extension deposits and the Sipilou Sud laterite deposit, which together with the proposed mine infrastructure, covers only about 3% of the 835 km2 project area.