First Nickel to extend life of Lockerby nickel-copper mine in Ontario

12 January 2015 (Last Updated January 12th, 2015 18:30)

Canadian mining and exploration company First Nickel (FNI) is preparing to restructure the Lockerby nickel-copper mine located in the Sudbury basin in Ontario, in a bid to increase exploration and extend its life.

Canadian mining and exploration company First Nickel (FNI) is preparing to restructure the Lockerby nickel-copper mine located in the Sudbury basin in Ontario, in a bid to increase exploration and extend its life.

According to the company, the restructuring plan is expected to reduce costs while maintaining relatively consistent nickel production.

By lowering costs at Lockerby mine, FNI plans to recommence the ramp development below the 6,800th level to reach the 7,100th level in the first half of 2016.

Cost and productivity changes will see a 30% reduction in the company's personnel and 75% in third-party contractor personnel, which could result in an overall workforce decrease of 45%. The company's plan also includes tightening spending at the Toronto corporate office.

"We are implementing a plan that will see production continue through 2016, preserve 115 FNI jobs, restart and expand our exploration drilling programme."

Production, which is not expected to be significantly impacted in 2015, is set to continue through 2016.

As part of restructuring, FNI will restart exploration diamond drilling at Lockerby, with a planned 6,300m and 7,200m of underground exploration drilling in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

FNI president and CEO Thomas Boehlert said: "Our primary objective over the past month has been to determine how we could safely and economically continue to operate the Lockerby mine into the future.

"We are implementing a plan that will see production continue through 2016, preserve 115 FNI jobs, restart and expand our exploration drilling programme and potentially add to mine life."

FNI concluded in December 2014 that developing the mine below the 6,800th level would be uneconomic based on the current cost structure, unless there is a substantial reduction in costs.