The Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore yesterday officially opened the Forrestania Nickel Concentrator, the Western Areas board announced.
The concentrator, located at the heart of Forrestania Nickel Project in Cosmic Bay, is designed to treat high grade nickel ore from the Flying Fox underground nickel mine.
Flying Fox mine currently produces approximately 1,000 tonnes of nickel per month at an average grade of 4% nickel from the T1 orebody, with the grade of the ore expected to increase to between 5 and 6% nickel as the mine accesses the larger T5 deposit in early 2010.
According to Western Areas, the concentrator uses conventional flotation technology to processes ore into nickel concentrate with an average grade of 14% nickel.
A proposed major expansion that will see the concentrator used at the planned Spotted Quoll mine, 6km south of Flying Fox is expected in June.
Western Areas earlier this month announced a deal with BHP Billiton to sell the miner up to 10,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate per annum.