Australia-based Metallica Minerals has increased the resources estimate at the southern deposits of its Scandium-Cobalt-Nickel project (SCONI) in north Queensland by 19% to 70.7 million tonnes at 1.2% nickel equivalent (NiEq).
The move brings total project resources to 89.1Mt at 1.15% nickel equivalent with measured and indicated resources up 2.5% to 65.1Mt at 1.22% nickel equivalent.
Metallica Minerals said the move follows the drilling and evaluation of the former Greenvale mine waste dumps to a new inferred resource, the estimation of a new indicated resource contained within an old crusher oversize stockpile, and the upgrading of previous in-situ inferred resources to indicated and measured categories.
The resources for the northern deposits featuring Bell Creek South, Bell Creek North, Bell Creek Northwest, the Neck and Minnamoolka are reported at a cut-off grade (COG) of NiEq 0.7%.
The SCONI project features a number of nickel laterite deposits between the towns of Mount Garnet and Greenvale.
Mining was undertaken at Greenvale from 1974 to 1992 and about 40 Mt of nickel and cobalt ore was transported by a railway line to the Yabulu nickel processing facility at Townsville.
Metallica has undertaken exploration activities at the SCONI project nickel laterite deposits with Mineral Resources since 2006.
The company has completed a pre-feasibility study to set up a central processing facility for the project at the existing Greenvale mine site.
Metallica has also completed test work, which indicated that metallurgical recovery is in the order of 90% for each of nickel, cobalt and scandium.
Image: The SCONI project location, which is about 250km by road from Townsville. Photo: Courtesy of Metallica Minerals.