Fox Resources is once again going to look towards nickel and copper output at its Radio Hill mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, developing a cost-effective, eco-friendly base metals heap leaching operation.

Fox has set an initial mine life target of five years with commissioning scheduled to take place in the September quarter of 2010.

Metallurgical testwork had been carried out in May to explore the potential of a new heap leaching operation.

Total resources at the mine in September rose by 307% from 988,000 to 4.02Mt at 0.51% nickel and 0.89% copper.

The company is expected to save $16m in costs in the first year of operation by avoiding mining and crushing for material stockpiled on the surface.

Surface material is estimated to have about 4,000t of nickel and copper each.

The company has appointed Snowden Mining Industry Consultants to devise a mining strategy for Radio Hill from the second year of production onwards.

Fox’s existing infrastructure will allow for faster development of the back-end processing plant.

In order to further extend mine life, work has begun at the company’s Sholl deposit, which contains disseminated resources.