GME Resources will expand the development strategy for its NiWest Nickel Laterite Project in Western Australia, based on a heap leach project delivering 30-35,000 tonnes of nickel metal per annum.
The new production approach follows a strategic review of the project and is expected to deliver significantly enhanced returns to shareholders.
The new strategy will see GME conduct a smaller scale demonstration trial at the Hepi site rather than the Cawse Project as previously announced. This will result in significant savings in terms of cost and time, enabling the company to proceed immediately with a feasibility study on the expanded project.
The new strategy is supported by positive results from column test work on nickel laterite ore from NiWest, general industry and technical support for the concept of heap leaching nickel laterites, and the recently announced Aus$300 million heap leach expansion project at Minara Resourcesâ€™ adjacent Murrin Murrin Project.
The review was made in light of recent column test work results, ongoing resource development work and other significant strategic developments. As part of this process, GME reviewed a number of project development options based on variations of the heap leach processing route for nickel laterite ores.
The company believes that the optimal size of the project is between 3.5 and 4.5 million tonnes per annum of ore stacked, producing between 30,000 and 35,000 tonnes of nickel metal per annum. This represents a significant increase on the production capacity envisaged by the pre-feasibility study completed last year, which was based on a project producing an average of 14,200 tonnes of nickel metal per annum.
The project is well served by infrastructure including road and rail links and is adjacent to the Goldfields gas pipeline.
GME is reviewing options for funding a feasibility study and project development, and intends to appoint a corporate advisor in due course to assist it with strategic options in this regard.
The company has engaged Ravensgate Minerals Industry Consultants to review its entire geological resource base. The previously announced global resource, at a 0.7% nickel cut-off grade, comprised 143 million tonnes at 1.00% nickel and 0.06% cobalt for 1.43 million tonnes of contained nickel and 85,800 tonnes of contained cobalt.
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