GUATEMALA – Developing the Fenix laterite project will cost owner SKYE RESOURCES of Vancouver at least US$754 million if a ferro-nickel smelting facility is built. Should Skye choose to build a hydrometallurgical plant instead of a smelter, the cost of construction would be US$858 million. These are two of the conclusions in the recently released feasibility study.
Although more expensive to build, the hydromet option looks better in several respects. The hydromet IRR is estimated at 14.2% with nickel at US$5/lb and the smelter option is 13.4% for nickel at the same price. Net present value is higher with the hydromet option at US$424 million, compared to US$374 million with a smelter. Cash operating costs would be lower with a hydromet plant because there are cobalt byproduct credits to be counted in that case.
Based on information found in the feasibility study, Skye has also revised its reserve and resource estimate. Proven and probable saprolite reserves total 41.4 million tonnes at 1.63% Ni or 673,000 tonnes of contained nickel. There are also 35.8 million tonnes of saprolite measured and indicated resources at 1.81% Ni. The measured and indicated limonite resource is 33.1 million tonnes at 1.18% Ni and 0.119% Co.
The Fenix project was known as ‘Eximbal’ when INCO originally developed it and ran it from 1977 to 1980. Additional information is available at www.SkyeResources.com.