Nova cel­e­brates mile­stone

The Australian Mining Review - - NEWS - El­iz­a­beth Fabri

IN­DE­PEN­DENCE Group (IGO) has en­tered com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion at its wholly owned Nova nickel-cop­per-cobalt project in WA, five years af­ter its dis­cov­ery.

In Septem­ber, IGO cel­e­brated the mile­stone with an of­fi­cial open­ing cer­e­mony on site, at­tended by al­most 200 peo­ple in­clud­ing State and re­gional gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives, tra­di­tional land own­ers, con­trac­tors, in­vestors, and em­ploy­ees.

Nova’s open­ing marks IGO’s fourth pro­duc­ing op­er­a­tion, and will be one of the low­est-cost nickel mines in Aus­tralia, with an ini­tial mine life of 10 years.

IGO in­her­ited the project back in Septem­ber 2015 dur­ing its $1.8 bil­lion takeover of Sir­ius Re­sources, and has since in­vested $456m in con­struc­tion and de­vel­op­ment costs, in­clud­ing the con­struc­tion of a 1.5 mil­lion tonnes per an­num (mtpa) un­der­ground mine and 1.5mtpa pro­cess­ing plant.

In FY18, the com­pany ex­pects Nova to pro­duce be­tween 23,000t and 27,000t nickel, be­tween 10,000t and 12,000t cop­per and be­tween 800t and 1050t cobalt con­tained in con­cen­trate.

IGO man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Brad­ford said the open­ing was an “out­stand­ing mile­stone” with the project ex­pected to reach its name­plate ca­pac­ity of 125,000 tonnes per month a year ear­lier than ex­pected in its bank­able fea­si­bil­ity study.

“I would like to thank the many con­trib­u­tors to the ex­plo­ration and de­vel­op­ment of Nova and to re­it­er­ate IGO’s com­mit­ment to de­liv­er­ing long term value to all our stake­hold­ers, es­pe­cially our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties,” Mr Brad­ford said.

“Our peo­ple, whether em­ployed di­rectly by IGO or our con­trac­tor part­ners, are the lifeblood of IGO and it is through their fo­cus, com­mit­ment and hard work that Nova has been de­liv­ered to com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion within five years of when the Sir­ius ex­plo­ration team, led by

“To­day, Nova is our flag­ship as­set and rep­re­sents the type of op­er­a­tion that IGO wants in its port­fo­lio– a qual­ity as­set that is high mar­gin, with scale and a long min­ing life, which an­chors our pres­ence in the Fraser Range where we are ac­tively ex­plor­ing to find the next Nova.”

Mark Ben­nett, drilled that now-fa­mous dis­cov­ery hole back in July 2012.

“To­day, Nova is our flag­ship as­set and rep­re­sents the type of op­er­a­tion that IGO wants in its port­fo­lio – a qual­ity as­set that is high mar­gin, with scale and a long min­ing life, which an­chors our pres­ence in the Fraser Range where we are ac­tively ex­plor­ing to find the next Nova.”

WA Mines and Petroleum min­is­ter Bill John­ston con­grat­u­lated the com­pany on its achieve­ment.

“We are proud to have played a part in suc­cess­fully bring­ing the project to life, the first diamond drill hole at Nova re­ceived co-fund­ing from the Ex­plo­ration In­cen­tive Scheme,” Mr John­ston said.

“Pro­duc­tion com­menc­ing at Nova is ex­cel­lent news for the min­ing sec­tor, es­pe­cially as this is the first mine of its scale in the highly prospec­tive Fraser Range.”

All images: In­de­pen­dence Group.

Nova is IGO’s fourth pro­duc­ing op­er­a­tion, and will be one of the low­est-cost nickel mines in Aus­tralia.

L-R: Peter Brad­ford (MD and CEO), Peter Bilbe (Non-Ex­ec­u­tive Chair­man), Hon. Bill John­ston, Chris Carr (Gen­eral Man­ager).

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