BRAZIL - The directors of London, UK-based ANGLO AMERICAN PLC have given the okay to the US$1.2-billion Barro Alto nickel project in this country. The project is expected to produce 36,000 t/y of nickel (as ferronickel) when full capacity is reached in 2011. Initial production is slated for 2007.
Barro Alto is located in the State of Gois, about 170 km northwest of Brasilia. A feasibility study was initiated in 2004 and completed in September 2006. The Barro Alto deposit contains resources of 116.2 million t, at an average grade of 1.54% Ni, of which 62.4 million t grading 1.66% Ni will be mined by conventional open pit methods and treated over a 26-year period.
Part of the Barro Alto deposit is currently being mined to feed Anglo American's Codemin plant 240 km to the south. Ore from Barro Alto is trucked to Codemin for processing in the existing facilities. This has successfully extended the life of Codemin and permitted an increase in production from 6,000 to 10,000 t/y, and ore from the newly approved project will continue to be transported to Codemin. The experience gained in mining and treating Barro Alto ore at Codemin significantly reduces the technical risk of the project.
The construction of Barro Alto will include extending the existing open pit mine operation and constructing a new ferronickel smelter and refinery. A long-term power supply has been secured. The operation will use tried and tested technology currently used by Anglo American at Codemin and Loma de Niquel in Venezuela.
The original press release may be read at www.AngloAmerican.co.uk.