Feasibility study for nickel heap leaching
European Nickel awarded Aker Kvaerner Australia in mid-March the bankable feasibility study for a nickel heap leach facility in Caldag, western Turkey. The Caldag facility, expected to be the world’s first of this scale, uses a simple acid leach process intended to produce nickel at lower cost than conventional technologies.
According to a Feb. 8, 2005, report at MoneyControl.com, the Caldag nickel laterite contains a resource of 38 million tonnes grading 1.14% Ni and 0.05% Co, amenable to open pit mining. A large-scale trial heap-leach operation was started in late 2004, with a 4,200-tonne heap of nickel ore grading 1.15% Ni. This was crushed and agglomerated, and stacked on a multi-layered plastic liner. As of the report, irrigation with an acid solution was successfully leaching the nickel.
Aker Kvaerner will design the full-scale heap operation and the metallurgical plant, and determine the capital and operating costs. The estimated capital cost of the full-scale project is approximately US$150 million, with start of construction expected in early 2006 and first shipments of product in 2007.
For more information see www.akerkvaerner.com.