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With the new resource estimate for Bell Creek, the company’s total resource in Queensland is now over 115 million tonnes.
On Monday (April 29), the company announced that the numbers for Bell Creek have come back as being 25.8 million tonnes at 0.72 percent nickel and 0.04 percent cobalt.
The asset is situated 115 kilometers north of the company’s flagship Sconi cobalt-nickel-scandium project, which hosts a resource of 75.7 million tonnes at 0.6 percent nickel and 0.08 percent cobalt.
Australian Mines nabbed Bell Creek as part of its Sconi acquisition along with the Minnamoolka project — also located in Queensland — which has a resource estimate of 14.7 million tonnes at 0.66 percent nickel and 0.03 percent cobalt.
“Since taking 100 percent ownership of the Sconi project and completing a bankable feasibility study on Sconi last year, our technical team has been assessing the value of the satellite deposits in the wider tenement package in more detail and in the context of our proposed investment in infrastructure in the region,” Australian Mines Managing Director Benjamin Bell said in a statement.
“We believe satellite deposits, such as Bell Creek and Minnamoolka, potentially offer currently untapped value to Australian Mines’ shareholders as a secondary project, incrementally adding to our future production footprint in North Queensland.”
Previous work done on Bell Creek by former owner Metallica Minerals (ASX:MLM,OTC Pink:MLMZF) shows that the project could potentially support a 1.5 million tonne per year heap leach operation to produce a mixed nickel and cobalt hydroxide precipitate.
As such, the company is currently exploring the economics of turning the project into a standalone operation that would include a beneficiation plant to procure concentrated feed for trucking to Sconi’s processing plant.
“If successful, such a strategy could materially increase Australian Mines’ annual production of battery-grade nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate precursor chemicals for the electric vehicle sector,” the statement reads.
For the time being, Australian Mines is continuing to progress Sconi to a final investment decision and subsequent construction.
As of April 26, nickel was trading at US$12,265 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange.
Australian Mines’ share price was down 4.17 percent by the end of trading on April 29 (Monday), closing at AU$0.02 on the ASX.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.