Mincor Resources has provided a start notice to BHP Nickel West for the supply of first ore to the Kambalda nickel concentrator in Western Australia.
The supply comes in line with an ore tolling and concentrate purchase agreement (OTCPA) finalised between the companies in August 2019.
The OTCPA gives Mincor the right to process up to 600,000 tonnes per year of nickel sulphide ore at BHP’s Kambalda nickel concentrator.
The ore is sourced from Mincor’s Kambalda nickel operations – the Cassini and Northern sites – 600 kilometres east of Perth.
After delays caused by skilled worker shortages, this start notice outlines a reliable timeline to first nickel concentrate sales by the June quarter of 2022 – one quarter later than previously intended.
Mincor managing director David Southam said the company was doing all it could to work through the delays with help from mining services company, Pit N Portal.
“Our original development schedule…envisaged a ramp-up of activity and skilled blue collar labour supply from mid-September and into early October,” Southam said.
“This ramp-up has not eventuated to the extent planned, prompting us to take the proactive step of updating our development plans with first nickel concentrate now scheduled for the June 2022 quarter.
“We have been working closely with our mining partner, Pit N Portal, to counter-act the labour shortages, and have implemented a number of retention and recruitment strategies that are already paying dividends.”
These strategies have included plans to construct a new, high-quality accommodation village near the Cassini operation.
First nickel ore is expected late in the December quarter from the Northern operations, while Cassini will produce first ore early in the 2022.
The delivery of first ore to the Kambalda nickel concentrator still relies on BHP recruiting, refurbishing and restarting the plant, with BHP indicating progress is promising.