First ore from the large, high grade Savannah North ore body within the recently re-opened Savannah nickel, copper, cobalt project in far north Western Australia, is expected next month according to project owner, Panoramic Resources.
|The Savannah mill|
Commenting on the achievement, Panoramic’s Managing Director, Peter Harold, said the first ore would come from development drives being constructed to access the Savannah North ore body, which is now only 70 metres from the Savannah ore body.
The Savannah North first ore milestone will occur within just 16 months of Panoramic’s decision to reopen the mine, northeast of Halls Creek, after it was shuttered in 2016.
The re-opening has seen employee numbers on site balloon from just eight to more than 200 – with Savannah North expected to hit full production rates as early as the New Year.
“The future of this mine is all about Savannah North,” Mr Harold said.
“We had mined Savannah for 10 years and didn’t even know the Savannah North ore body was there, until we took a punt and drilled a blind hole to the west. It is a big ore body, about 175000 tonnes of nickel starting about 800 metres below surface.
“We don’t even know how yet how big it is, but we estimate around two kilometres in strike, and we have only drilled out about a third of the potential strike.
The Company anticipates that Savannah North’s output at full speed will be approximately 950000 tonnes of ore a year at about 1.5 per cent nickel. These will be better grades than Savannah’s, with Panoramic intending to mine it at a higher rate than the previous 750000tpa.
Panoramic’s new mining push also comes as the Company successfully halves its total senior and mezzanine debt obligations to Macquarie Bank, with senior debt now sitting at AU$20 million.
Savannah North has forecast mine production of 5.97Mt @ 1.49% nickel for 88900 tonnes of contained metal plus significant copper and cobalt credits.
The development of the mine’s twin decline is well advanced with construction also progressing on a 900-metre ventilation shaft which is due for completion in the June quarter of 2020.
The new ore body’s annual metals in concentrate output is estimated to be approximately 11000 tonnes of nickel, 600 tonnes of copper and 800 tonnes of cobalt.