VANCOUVER – SKYE RESOURCES has successfully completed the pilot plant tests of its proprietary sulphation atmospheric leach (SAL) process on ores from its Fenix laterite property in Guatemala. The tests were conducted by SGS MINERALS at its lab in Lakefield, Ontario. The final test achieved recovery rates of 85.4% for nickel and 84.8% for cobalt, in a mixed hydroxide intermediate product.
“Fenix” is the new name of the old Exmibal mine and plant operated for three years by INCO LTD. until 1980. Skye acquired the project in 2004, and is considering a restart at a rate of 50,000 lb of ferronickel yearly. HATCH is preparing a feasibility study comparing the costs of SAL with high pressure acid leaching; it will be completed in the third quarter of 2006.
The Fenix property has measured and indicated saprolite resources of 62.6 million tonnes grading 1.84% Ni and 57.5 million tonnes of inferred saprolite resources grading 1.68% Ni. The limonite material falls within the inferred resource category and totals 29.4 million tonnes at 1.31% Ni.
Skye has an ambitious development plan. The plant will be converted from matte to ferronickel production with a dramatic reduction in sulphur dioxide emissions, expanding throughput, perhaps in two phases, by adding a second drying and calcining line plus upgrading the furnace. It will convert the metallurgical plant from oil- to coal-fired, and double the output of the power plant and cut generating costs by using coal or high-efficiency technology.
The SAL process is explained in more detail at www.SkyeResources.com.