AGATA Mining Ventures Inc (AMVI) aims to use results of a large-scale drilling program at Agata Nickel Laterite Project in Mindanao to increase the confidence level of existing nickel laterite resources and potentially expand the size of the deposit. An updated resource model is expected to be completed during the current quarter.

Loading ore from the Agata Nickel Laterite Project in northeast Mindanao on to a barge.
Loading ore from the Agata Nickel Laterite Project in northeast Mindanao on to a barge.

AMVI, a joint venture company in which Mindoro Resources holds 40% and TVI Resource Development (TVIRD) holds 60% and is the operator, recently completed a drill program comprising 986 holes totalling 16,768 metres.

The program commenced in October 2014 and was completed in six months with up to 17 drill rigs mobilized at one time. It involved 907 infill drill holes and 79 step-out holes.

Of the infill holes, 583 holes for 10,520.7 metres were drilled at 25x25 metre spacing and 324 holes for 5348.1 metres were drilled at 50x50 metre spacing. Results showed average nickel and iron grades for saprolite horizons of 1.3% nickel and 14% iron while limonite intersections averaged 1.1% nickel and 49% iron.

Significant intersections of up to 4.3% nickel and 55% iron were encountered at vertical thicknesses ranging from 6 to 22 metres. AMVI says results will be used primarily to upgrade the confidence level of current known resources from indicated to measured category.

The step-out program totalled 899.3 metres and also returned positive results. A total of 78 of the 79 holes drilled in the southwest, central and northeast areas surrounding the Agata mining area intersected limonite and saprolite ore with nickel grades above 0.8%. Approximately 22 holes had intersections ranging from 10 to 24 metres of nickel-rich horizons with grades equal to or greater than 1.3%. Maximum iron grade recorded from the step-out holes was 54%.

Commercial production of nickel laterite DSO commenced at the project in October 2014. After completing three DSO shipments in April, including two high iron/low nickel limonite shipments and one higher nickel grade saprolite shipment, AMVI announced it would make just one shipment of saprolite ore in May in light of depressed prices and low demand for all grades of laterite ore.

“The extreme volatility in Philippine nickel laterite prices has necessitated a high level of flexibility in our operations,” said TVI Pacific’s chairman and CEO Clifford James. “We anticipate that a turnaround in nickel prices towards the latter part of the year and developments at other TVIRD projects will support TVIRD in seeking Philippine Stock Exchange listing later this year.”

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