Nickel junior Horizonte Minerals is defining a significant lateritic nickel project in Brazil’s Carajás area where there is great local infrastructure and very low power costs.
LONDON (MINEWEB) – There are hundreds of gold junior explorers – many of them in deep trouble at the moment – but if nickel is your thing then there aren’t many serious junior players in the nickel sector, not least juniors with a great resource in terms of tonnage and grade in an area surrounded by successful nickel operators with currently profitable projects, good infrastructure and a market on their doorstep.
One that does tick these boxes is AIM and TSX main board quoted Horizonte Minerals which is concentrating its efforts on its Araguaia nickel project in Brazil’s Carajás region in Pará state– a deposit which it describes as a world leading asset in terms of size and grade – but it would say that wouldn’t it!
However Horizonte does have the figures to, at least partially, back this claim up, if not the money to develop it, although it has sufficient capital (around US$9 million in cash) to keep it going through its next stage of producing a Prefeasibility study on the back of a recent encouraging Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA), and some good backing – notably Teck, which owns just short of 42%.
The Araguaia deposit is a saprolitic nickel laterite located in the same area as Vale’s Onça Puma nickel mine as well as some other significant nickel projects including Xstrata’s Serra do Tapa only 60 km away.
Grades are decent for a deposit of this type and the resource is big – with considerable scope for expansion. The Indicated resource is estimated at 24.2 million tonnes grading 1.6% Ni at a 1.2% cutoff grade plus 26 million tonnes grading 1.43% at a similar cutoff. At lower cutoff grades the tonnages are far higher. The deposit comes right to surface so stripping ratios would be very low.
The PEA suggested a rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) processing system similar to that working well at Anglo American’s Barro Alto project in Goiás state, also in Brazil – although Vale seems to be having some problems at a similar plant at Onça Puma. Nevertheless Horizonte reckons this would work well on its ore and preliminary metallurgical tests are positive. The company is now proceeding with a 250 tonne bulk sample test in a 28 day pilot plant campaign.
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