ONTARIO – Toronto-based Noront Resources has released the pre-feasibility study for its Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-PGM project in the Ring of Fire. According to the PFS, the mine will pay for itself after three years of operation.
Initial capital investment will be $734 million: $500 million for mine site infrastructure and development plus $234 million toward shared infrastructure and a slurry pipeline. Sustaining capital is pegged at $143 million over an 11-year mine life.
The PFS is based on proven and probable reserves of 11.1 million tonnes averaging 1.68% Ni, 0.87% Co, 0.89 g/t Pt, 3.09 g/t Pd and 0.18 g/t Au. Estimated operating costs are $75 to $80 per tonne or $2.75 per lb nickel equivalent. The project will have a free cash flow of $175 million per year.
Wes Hanson, CEO of Noront said in a news release, “Establishing the first mineral reserve in this evolving mining camp is a milestone development that we believe will accelerate meaningful discussion on the infrastructure necessary to support development of this very exciting district. … The estimated capital and operating costs compare very favourably to other advanced nickel projects being considered for development. We are targeting the first quarter of 2012 to have a completed feasibility study for Eagle’s Nest that will allow the company to begin arranging project financing with the objective of commercial production by 2016.”
The Eagle’s Nest project is planned with an underground mine and a mineral processing plant that will also be built underground. It will operate at 1.0 million t/y ore throughput. Concentrate will be piped to a filter plant near Webequie. All tailings will remain underground as cemented fill.
Noront is working on the bankable feasibility study. See www.NorontResources.com for additional project details.