Fox Resources will begin the construction of a base metals heap leaching operation at its Radio Hill operation in the Pilbara.
In a statement released this morning, the company said it hoped a mine would initially have a five-year lifespan, with commissioning expected in the September quarter of 2010.
The company announced in May this year that it would undertake metallurgical testing to confirm the viability of a heap leaching operation.
The testing confirmed a minerals resource of 4.02 Mt of nickel and copper, which was a 307% increase from the initial results of 980,000 tonnes.
The company said it expected to save around $16 million in the first year, due to the absence of mining and crushing required for material stockpiled on surface.
The surface material is estimated to contain 4000 tonnes of nickel and 4000 tonnes of copper.
Fox Resources managing director Bruno Seneque said the heap leaching operation would be very economical and have a minimal environmental impact.
“Today’s milestone represents an exciting new growth phase for Fox,” he said.
The company’s existing infrastructure is expected to speed up construction of the back-end processing plant.