Independence advances Nova for strong start to 2019

The Nova site. Image: Independence Group

Independence Group (IGO) managing director and chief executive officer Peter Bradford has stated that the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt and Tropicana gold projects in Western Australia are to “drive future growth” at the company.

Commenting on IGO’s quarterly report released yesterday, the MD and CEO spoke positively of the company’s growth in the quarter, posting a cash balance increase to $176 million — a 27 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase — for a net position of $62 million.

The Nova operation opened in September last year and has seen significant growth, having recently secured a $240 million contract extension with Barminco for underground development services.

IGO has committed $51 million to discovery for the 2019 financial year and is currently developing an underground automation project and solar power integration at the Nova site to drive further value from the operation.

The project is expected to deliver long-term potential to the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market with its downstream nickel and cobalt sulphate production in particular.

Both Nova and Tropicana (a 70-30 joint venture project majority owned by AngloGold Ashanti) posted results in line with expectations, though revenue was down slightly on the June quarter despite higher nickel concentrate and gold sales.

Nova produced 6854t of nickel, 3019t of copper and 245t of cobalt for the quarter, all down from the respective 7344t, 3230t and 251t figures in the previous quarter.

The company stated that this was due to softer base metal prices, lower copper concentrate sales and the lack of revenue from the Jaguar and Long operations — the former was divested for $73.2 million in May and the latter placed on care and maintenance in the previous quarter.

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