First Quantum flags Ravensthorpe restart

First Quantum is planning to resume operations at the Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia during the first quarter of next year.

The mine has remained on care and maintenance throughout the June quarter following the suspension of operations in October 2017.

However, the company has recently indicated its intention to recommence operations amid an improving nickel price.

First Quantum’s care and maintenance costs during the June quarter and first half of this year totalled $5 million and $9 million respectively.

Its contractor maintenance costs were $1 million and $3 million higher than budgeted for the quarter and half year, respectively, as activities ramped up within the site’s process plant.

The Canadian-based company originally bought the mothballed nickel mine from BHP for $US340 million ($493 million) in 2011 after it was shut down in 2009.

Following a consistently low nickel price, Ravensthorpe was closed in September 2017 as production dipped in response to market conditions.

First Quantum’s second quarter results in 2017 for Ravensthorpe was 11,512 tonnes of nickel for the first six months ending June 30 in comparison with 12,088 tonnes the year before.

The company reported that the mine’s “value is sensitive to longer term nickel price assumptions.”

First Quantum also reported that resource drilling at the nearby Shoemaker-levy deposit was also completed during the June quarter and critical refurbishment work in the atmospheric leach circuit was 90 per cent complete.

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