The National, Monday 19th December 2011
By YEHIURA HRIEHWAZI
PNG’s second nickel laterite project is slowly becoming a reality.
The first is the Ramu nickel project in Madang province and the latest is located between Central and Northern provinces.
Little-known Niugini Nickel Ltd – a subsidiary of Australian company Resource Mining Corp (RMC) – recently upgraded the size of its ore body by 52% to 125 million tonnes.
The project is located about 200km east of Port Moresby in an area called Wowo Cap on the Owen Stanley Range.
The tenement registered by the Mineral Resources Authority is exploration licence 1165.
An independent valuation of the project in 2009 showed a preferred valuation of A$168 million.
The company announced last week that it was looking for a major partner to help it with the development of the Wowo Cap nickel project – located in an area that’s accessible only by light aircraft and helicopter.
RMC said last week that its resource estimates had grown by 52% to 125 million tonnes grading 1.06% nickel versus the previous figure of 82Mt at 1% nickel with contained nickel up 60% to 1.32Mt from 830,000t, and the indicated component up to 72Mt at 1.03% nickel from 39Mt at 1% nickel previously.
A cut-off grade of 0.8% nickel was also applied.
The upgrade incorporated results from a 295-hole core drilling programme which started on the project in August last year.
“The new estimate confirms the significance of the resource at Wowo Gap in a global context, and coupled with research on our new organic leaching technology, make the project very attractive to potential joint venture partners,” RMC managing director Warwick Davies said in a statement.
“The next step is to find an off-take partner who can help fund the future development.”
A potential site for a standalone hydro power source had also been identified within the general area of the project.
“All the key elements are now starting to come together, a significant nickel and cobalt deposit near surface which lends itself to open cut mining, an innovative organic leaching process.
which is being developed to proof of concept stage, a potential source of hydro power and an export port less than 30km away,” he said.