JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – An independent review has projected an “encouraging” price tag of $1.78/lb of nickel-in-concentrate delivered to Ulak rail station, located on the Baikal Amur rail line, from the potential Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project, in Russia, said Aim-listed Amur Minerals on Monday.
The appointed mining consultancy RPMGlobal Asia (RPM) projected all-in operating costs of $24/t of ore to deliver concentrate to the planned Ulak rail station, lower than Amur’s estimated cost of $26/t in the first quarter of 2015.
The average cost per pound of nickel delivered in concentrate form to the Ulak station did not presently include consideration of smelter terms, recoveries, charges, payable terms and royalties.
“Using today's nickel price of approximately $4/lb, our projected breakeven cutoff grades [at 0.29% to 0.39% nickel only] are lower than the cutoff grade at which we report Joint Ore Reserve Committee (Jorc) mineral resources,” said Amur Minerals CEO Robin Young, adding that the mineral exploration and resource development company believed it had a highly robust resource capable of supporting a long-term operation at the current low nickel price.
The breakeven operating cutoff grade would likely be reduced with the inclusion of any payable revenues derived from the excluded by-product value derived from copper, cobalt, platinum and palladium, he added.
“We believe we have added an additional safeguard to our evaluation of the economic potential of Kun-Manie by this highly conservative approach and the exclusion of any resources below a 0.4% cutoff grade,” Young assured.
The completion of the RPM operating cost review was a key component to the continual advancement of the project, with the newly derived costs now included in the ongoing mine design evaluation for the determination of mining potential and production schedules.
Openpit designs are being compiled by RPM for all four drilled deposits, with underground evaluations at Maly Kurumkon/Flangovy and Kubuk under way.