INDONESIA – London, U.K.-based RIO TINTO has hopes for its Sulawesi nickel laterite project in Indonesia. Discovered in 2000, the deposit is now believed to contain over 160 million tonnes of inferred resources, and there is a good chance that further exploration will expand that number.
The inferred resources stand at 111 million tonnes at 1.41% Ni and 0.10% Co in the South limonite and 51 million tonnes at 2.10% Ni and 0.04% Co in the South saprolite.
Rio Tinto has plans to get a 46,000-t/y nickel producer onstream by 2015. Expansion to production of more than 100,000 t/y nickel is also being considered. Truck-and-shovel mining followed by pressure acid leaching may result in recovery rates of 90% for nickel and 88% for cobalt.
The company’s website is at www.RioTinto.com.