Nickel miner Western Areas has completed construction and commissioning of the Mill Recovery Enhancement Project (MREP) for the production of high-grade nickel sulphides. MREP product will initially be blended with existing nickel concentrates.
Now that the MREP has been commissioned on time and on budget, the company will focus on ramping up operations to nameplate capacity. Its attention will turn to the $3 million construction of filtration and bagging facilities, with completion scheduled by the third quarter of 2018.
According to Western Areas managing director Dan Lougher, the company now has a “new high-grade nickel sulphide product set to attract premium pricing above its existing concentrate terms”.
“With significant interest in this new product, including parties related to the electric vehicle sector,” said Lougher, “we have hosted many site visits in recent months and have also received indicative offtake terms. We will soon commence dispatching samples to a select group of potential customers as part of securing a new offtake agreement.”
Western Areas is known for its flagship Forrestania project, which incorporates the Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll nickel mines, the Cosmic Boy Concentrator nickel treatment facility, and a tenement package consisting of several deposits.
One of these deposits, New Morning, is expected to be the next to utilise the MREP infrastructure. The company is also the inventor of BioHeap, a leaching process that utilises optimised cultures from specially cultivated bacterial farms.