Atlantic Nickel’s Santa Rita marks Q1 milestones
The Santa Rita mine in Brazil — one of the largest open-pit nickel sulphide mines in the world — remains fully operational with limited disruptions to the supply chain, owner and operator Atlantic Nickel said in an update on Tuesday.
By the end of the first quarter, the mine completed its second and third shipments ahead of schedule, following its first shipment earlier in January.
To date, the company has produced over 30,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate since its restart and is on track to ramp up to 105,000 tonnes by the end of 2020.
Santa Rita was halted in 2015 due to low nickel prices by its then-owner Mirabela Nickel, which operated the mine for six years. Plans to restart the mine were set in motion when Appian Capital, the advisory firm backing Atlantic Nickel, acquired the nickel operation through a bankruptcy process in 2018.
The mine has an estimated annual production capacity of 6.5 million tonnes of nickel in sulphide concentrate.
A drill program begun in Q2 2019 has confirmed the upside potential of the mineral endowment at Santa Rita, with the underground resource estimate increasing to 168 million tonnes at 0.59% nickel and 0.19% copper, possibly extending its mine life to over 26 years.
Atlantic Nickel said it plans to conduct additional drilling this year to further grow and define the underground resource. A preliminary economic assessment on a planned underground operation is expected by the end of Q3.