Panoramic Resources is set to commence concentrate shipping at the Savannah nickel-cobalt-copper project in the first quarter of 2019.
The company first announced its plans to restart the Kimberley, Western Australia-based mine in July 2018, which was suspended in May 2016 due to low nickel prices. Since the suspension, nickel has undergone something of a resurgence.
In May 10 2016, around the time Savannah was placed on care and maintenance, the LME (London Metal Exchange) nickel price stood at $US8770/t, but rose fairly steadily over the next two years to a brief 2018 peak of $15,700/t in April. It has since settled to $US12,465/t as of September 19, 2018.
Panoramic received a $40 million loan from Macquarie Bank to help fund the project restart, which includes major process plant refurbishments.
First drawdown on the Macquarie loan facility is scheduled to occur in late October. Panoramic has also entered into a four-year offtake agreement with Chinese company Sino Nickel for concentrate shipments via the Port of Wyndham, replacing a 10-year agreement made between the two companies in 2010.
According to Panoramic managing director Peter Harold, activities have ramped up significantly since July, with “overwhelming interest” from potential employees.
The MD said he was excited for Savannah to be back in production after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus.
“The process plant refurbishment, which commenced in the March 2018 quarter, is on track and we have now committed to all other site works required for the restart of operations and development of the Savannah North orebody, including the ventilation rise, the tailings storage wall lift and recommissioning of other site infrastructure,” he said.