Amur Minerals has potentially 30% more mineable nickel at one of its main targets at the Kun-Manie Nickel/Copper Sulphide Project in Far East Russia than previously estimated. The new estimate for total recovered metal is 252,000 tonnes of nickel.

Work by consultant Runge Pincock Minarco (RPM) on the Maly Kurumkon/Flangovy (MKF) deposit has increased possible mineable nickel reserves by 31% or 59,000 tonnes on the preliminary economic assessment number.

The upgrade was made possible by a 60-hole drilling program.

Amur CEO Robin Young said that even though the new study included inferred resources, it supported the view that mining using a combination of open pit and underground at three of the MKF’s deposits would enhance project economics.

He said that the study did not include its latest infill drilling program, which would allow conversion of a significant portion of the inferred portion of the MKF resource to the indicated category. A 900 metre extension to the mineralised length of the MKF deposit will also boost the ore reserve.

“We are also nearing completion of the final reviews of the resource updates to the Ikenskoe/Sobolevsky, Vodorazdelny and Kubuk deposits.”

The company says the next steps will be to review the metallurgical results to see if this can further boost the metal recovery levels.

Amur also recently identified its preferred route for a road from the Kun-Manie project to the rail station at Ulak. The company said the projected cost in dollar terms of constructing the road was likely to be lower than previously expected, largely as a result of the decline in the value of the rouble.

The road is planned to be 316km in length and eight metres in width, and should be capable of handling the transport of concentrate and supplies to and from the site in the far eastern part of Russia. Five major bridges will be required with an estimated 200 stream and drainage crossings having also been identified.

The western portion of the road, some 180km in length, will be constructed along existing, albeit narrow, roads created by other mining companies in the past. The eastern portion will be constructed in the mountainous terrain of the Stanovoy Range. There is no infrastructure along the eastern section of the route is present.

In Far East Russia permafrost is a constant concern and Amur said permafrost conditions varied along this route and would need to be considered in the detailed design of the road.

Having identified its preferred route, the company will initiate the next stage of road design, including development of surface topographic maps for use in route selection, road design and construction planning.

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