Nickel: Savannah concentrate shipments due early February

Panoramic Resources Savannah Mine

Panoramic Resources has announced that its re-started Savannah mine in Western Australia should make its first concentrate shipment by early February. Underground operations re-started in the final quarter of 2018, with the re-commissioning of underground air, water and electrical services, as well as production drilling to build up ROM ore stocks. The production ramp-up in December was slower than forecast because of the availability of personnel, mobile equipment availability and a severe storm. By early January, the mill’s throughput was exceeding 2,000 tonnes per day.

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The Savannah mine was put under care and maintenance in 2016 (when the LME nickel price hit its recent low), but a recovery in nickel prices in the first half of 2018 resulted in Panoramic Resources deciding to re-start operations. Over the course of the project’s mine life, production is expected to average 10,800tpy of nickel, as well as 6,100tpy copper and 800tpy cobalt metal. The company has a concentrate offtake agreement with Sino Nickel (owned 60% by Jinchuan and 40% by Sino Mining International, an investment and trading company controlled by China Minmetals). The rise in nickel price in the first half of 2018 has encouraged miners to assess the viability of re-starting mothballed nickel operations, especially given the expected jump in demand for nickel by the automotive battery sector.

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