Pacific DFS suggests attractive nickel development

PACIFIC Nickel Mines’ dream of developing its 80%-owned Kolosori nickel laterite operation in the Solomon Islands has been boosted by the release of a promising definitive feasibility study.
Pacific DFS suggests attractive nickel development Pacific DFS suggests attractive nickel development Pacific DFS suggests attractive nickel development Pacific DFS suggests attractive nickel development Pacific DFS suggests attractive nickel development

Trial stockpile at Kolosori

Haydn Black


The DFS examined two options for what should be a short but profitable direct shipping ore operation: a base case option, essentially based on its maiden reserves of 3.8 million wet tonnes grading 1.7%, and an expanded option based on reserves plus about one third of its 2Mt inferred resource.
Both options require US$21.5 million in development spending, which would be paid back within the first year.
The base case uses a mining inventory of 3.8Mt grading 1.57%, and delivered a post-tax net present value of US$91 million and an internal rate of return of 156%.
The expanded option uses 6.1Mt grading 1.51% for an NPV of $83 million and an IRR of 170%.
Both scenarios assume production of up to 1.5Mtpa, with the base case offering a three-year life with operating costs of $31/t, giving margins of $22/t, while the other extended option adds about 2.5 years of life with similar opex and a slightly slimmer $18/t margin.
CEO Geoff Hiller said the Kolosori DFS had confirmed the economic viability of an operation with a swift payback and low technical risk.
"Based on these results we are confident that we will soon be able to draw upon the financing facilities being offered by Glencore International which will see construction commence in earnest," he said.
Glencore has offered a US$22 million senior secured debt facility, repayable within three years for the development.
Hiller said a final investment decision should support a start-up in the September quarter.
In tandem with the development it wants to drill out the inferred resource, and test the 2.5-4Mt at 1.2-1.4% exploration target.
Total resources are 9.2Mt at 1.46% for 134,000t contained nickel, based on a 1% cut-off.
The junior already has a mining lease granted and most approvals, with only the export permit outstanding.
It intends to seek that once an offtake agreement is locked in.
The company acquired Kolosori in 2020. 
It is also advancing the follow-up Jejevo project, 70km from Kolosori.
Santa Isabel Island landowners have a 20% carried interest in both projects.
Pacific raised some $5.3 million at 7c late last year to fund early works. 
Shares in the emerging producer closed up 16% yesterday at 8.9c, valuing the company at $32 million.
The stock has traded at 6.5-13c over the past year.