ONTARIO – Toronto-based First Nickel is restructuring the Lockerby nickel-copper mine near Sudbury in an effort to reduce costs, increase exploration and extend the life of the project.
The future of ramp development and mining below the 6800 level has been in doubt for a couple years as nickel prices languished. Last December, the company said that unless costs could be substantially reduced, deeper development would remain uneconomic.
The restructuring plan includes a 30% reduction in personnel and a 75% reduction in third party contractor personal. First Nickel says that is an overall 45% reduction in the workforce at the mine. Costs in the head office are also to be reduced.
With this steep cuts comes the decision to restart ramp development below the 6800 level, reaching the 7100 level in 2016. Underground exploration drilling will also resume with a planned 6,300 metres in 2015 and 7,200 metres in 2016.
First Nickel plans to release 2015 production and cost guidance later this month.
The most recent Lockerby technical report is available at FNImining.com.