European Nickel has decided to fast track the definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the Acoje nickel laterite project in the Philippines as it places the Çaldağ project in Turkey on care and maintenance until receipt of the forestry permit.
Çaldağ has been progressed to the point whereby the major outstanding item to completing the Western Bank project financing and commencing development of the project is re-issuance of the forestry permit. Despite repeated assurances from government officials that the forestry permit will be re-issued, this has not yet occurred.
European Nickel’s Board has decided to re-focus resources on fast tracking the Acoje DFS, commencing with the start-up of the heap leach trial facility during the first quarter of 2011. The Çaldağ technical team will be transferred to the Acoje project team shortly. A significant amount of the metallurgical information that has been developed and compiled at Çaldağ is readily transferable to the Acoje DFS.
The Acoje project is based on Luzon Island. A DFS started in March 2009, following the results of a positive pre-feasibility study (PFS) which confirmed an economically viable nickel heap leach project. The base case scenario is an operation annually producing 24,500 tonnes of nickel MHP over an initial 10 year life of mine. There is significant potential to extend the mine life by converting the JORC inferred Acoje and Zambales Chromite nickel laterite deposits to indicated status.
European Nickel’s managing director Rob Gregory Rob Gregory says, “The company is determined to become a nickel producer through capitalizing on our low cost, heap leach technology.
“Whilst we are disappointed that, despite repeated assurances, the forestry permit for the Çaldağ project has yet to be re-issued, we do have an equally viable alternative project in Acoje which has the potential to be significantly larger and longer life than Çaldağ.