Duluth sets Bechtel parameters for 100 year copper-nickel-pgm mine PFS – by Lawrence Williams (Mineweb.com – March22, 2012)


Duluth Metals’ huge copper-nickel-pgm-gold resource on the Duluth complex in northern Minnesota moves on a stage with top engineering company Bechtel being given the parameters on which to base a PFS

HONG KONG (Mineweb) –  Talking to Duluth Metals Chairman and CEO, Chris Dundas at Mines & Money Hong Kong he remains extremely enthusiastic about his monster mining project in Northern Minnesota, USA which, if and when it comes to fruition, will become one of the world’s great underground mining operations with a mine life probably well in excess of 100 years.

Top engineering company Bechtel has been retained to undertake the preparation of the NI 43-101 Prefeasibility Study (PFS) on the initial project based primarily on the Nokomis section of this vast resource and the parameters under which Bechtel has been instructed give a great indication of the scale of operations envisaged.

Bechtel has thus been instructed to prepare its study based on the following:·A vertically integrated mining complex;

·Large scale phased underground mine plan and development;

·Evaluating different scenarios respecting both on-site and off-site surface facility alternatives, including examining options in milling capacity up to approximately 80,000 tonnes/day throughput; and,

·A hydrometallurgical plant with a minimum capability of producing copper cathode, nickel hydroxide and a platinum group metals concentrate.

An 80,000 tonne/day mining operation will make Nokomis one of the world’s biggest underground mines on a scale with Codelco’s El Teniente in Chile and LKAB’s Kiruna iron ore mine in northern Sweden.

Back in North America, Vern Baker, President of Duluth Metals commented on this latest phase of the investigations, “Bechtel and the other Pre-Feasibility Consultants are aggressively working to define a large integrated mining operation that respects the environmental and social values of Minnesotans and which will benefit the State of Minnesota for generations.  This project is being planned with the latest technologies in order to protect Minnesota’s environment and will be a long-term economic engine for Northern Minnesota.”

The Bechtel PFS is only one of a series of engineering studies into this massive project, the potential scale of which should not be underestimated.  The geological structure which is the Duluth Complex is already reckoned to hold the world’s third largest accumulation of nickel sulphides and the world’s second largest accumulation of polymetallic copper and platinum group metals.

An initial pre-feasibility NI-43-101 Resource Estimate report on the consolidated resources of the Twin Metals Project is nearing completion by AMEC and is anticipated to be finalized by the end of April, 2012.  This report is going through final iterations as minor additions are incorporated into the geologic model.  This resource will be used for mine planning purposes in the pre-feasibility study.  This initial resource update will be followed up by a pre-feasibility resource report which will incorporate data from recent, current, and near future targeted drill programmes.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Mineweb.com website: http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page36?oid=147766&sn=Detail&pid=102055