Australian mining and exploration company IGO has placed the Cosmos Project on care and maintenance following the completion of an extensive review.

Initiated in mid-2023, the review aimed to identify risks and assess opportunities to optimise the life-of-mine plan, capital cost estimates and schedule.

The outcomes of the review have indicated a reduction in the expected life of the mine, delays in reaching full capacity to utilise the processing plant fully, and further increases in operating and capital costs.

As a result, the company has decided to shift the project’s focus to preserving the Cosmos assets safely and completing selected key workstreams.

The latest move will result in some redundancies, although IGO is working to offer some redeployment opportunities.

The company is currently developing a resourcing plan for the transition into care and maintenance, which is expected to be complete by 31 May 2024.

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By GlobalData

It will include finishing the wet commissioning of the processing plant and processing the existing ore on the run-of-mine (ROM) pad.

During this period, IGO will evaluate the value of continuing work on select exploration programmes, particularly aiming to increase the size and definition of the AM5 and AM6 orebodies and optimising mining and materials handling methods.

The company said that it is committed to maintaining the optionality to resume Cosmos’ operations if market conditions become favourable in the future.

IGO managing director and CEO Ivan Vella said: “This is not the outcome anyone at IGO wanted; however, we cannot ignore the operational and financial risks involved in continuing to develop Cosmos in the current environment.

“We still believe there is value in Cosmos; however, in this nickel environment we need to be disciplined with our allocation of capital, while retaining our optionality to restart if market conditions improve.

“I would like to thank the team on site who have done an outstanding job to work through the challenges, and to progress the project to where it is today. Prioritising and minimising the impact on our team through this process is our absolute focus and we will provide every support we can to those people affected.”