IZABAL STATE, Guatemala Toronto-based JAGUAR NICKEL (formerly Chesbar Resources) intends to complete a pre-feasibility study by year-end at its Sechol nickel project in Guatemala, said company spokesperson Somerset Parker.
"We are shooting to have the project in production by the first quarter of 2006, perhaps earlier," said Parker.
A scoping study by Hatch Engineering, released earlier in the year, put capital costs at US$240 million to build a facility with yearly production of 20,000 tonnes of nickel and 800 tonnes of cobalt as an intermediate mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide product, at cash operating costs of US$1.04/lb nickel. The study was based on Jaguar's proprietary atmospheric chloride leach process (AAL) to extract the nickel and cobalt, as opposed to conventional pressure acid leach (PAL) processes or smelting-ferronickel options.
The company has signed a first stage 5,000m, 250-hole diamond drill contract with Major Drilling Group International to drill 100-m centers at Sechol's El Inicio and Buena Vista area with work scheduled to commence towards the end of October, said Parker. A second contract will be signed later, possibly with another company, to drill 200-m centers at the projects less-advanced El Segundo area, he said.
Sechol has a measured resource of 14 million tonnes averaging 1.46% Ni, including 5 million tonnes grading 2.1% Ni at the El Inicio starter pit area, said Parker. The project has an additional 23 million tonnes at 1.34% and 133 million tonnes grading 1.51% in the indicated and inferred categories, respectively.
Parker said chloride-based processes to refine nickel are gathering support in the industry as demonstrated by the success at Toronto-based miner Inco's pilot plant to refine nickel at its Voisey's Bay project. "Everyone is coming to chloride now but we are still ahead of the pack," said Parker.
Read the third annual report on the Sechol project at www.jaguarnickel.com.