Horizonte Minerals Plc, (AIM:HZM) (TSX:HZM) ('Horizonte' or 'the Company') the nickel development company focused in Brazil, is pleased to announce that it has appointed Geotechreserves Do Brasil - Serviços De Perfurações E Sondagens Ltda ('Geotechreserves') to conduct the diamond drilling associated with the Feasibility Study ('FS') for its 100%-owned Araguaia nickel project ('Araguaia' or 'the Project').
- The drilling programme will comprise of approximately 1,500 metres and will be focused on:
- Providing an estimation of in situ ore tonnes for an area selected for trial excavation
- Undertaking geotechnical drilling over the pit areas, the site of the Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace ('RKEF') plant and cooling water dam site
- A number of holes will be drilled to monitoring water levels around the plant site and pits as part of larger on-going hydrogeology and hydrology studies
- Drilling commenced on 27 March 2017 in line with the FS schedule
- Feasibility Study due for completion by the end of 2017
Horizonte CEO Jeremy Martin said, "The Feasibility Study at Araguaia is now fully underway. Having successfully completed the project kick-off meeting on site which was attended by all of our consulting groups during the second week of March, the drill programme will provide data which will form an integral part of the Feasibility Study. This includes detailed information of the trial excavation programme as well as geotechnical information over the planned process plant site which will be used to design the foundations and the main structures that support the electric furnace and kiln. We look forward to providing updates on this programme, as well as in respect to our other work streams including site engineering, mining, and the permitting progress, in the coming months."
The drilling over the area selected for trial excavation comprises 25 holes in a 5m x 5m grid. Mining engineering consultants identified the site to be excavated based on the profile of the site geology. The sustainability team then worked with engineers to optimise the site, thus ensuring no water courses or native reserves will be impacted by the excavation. Rehabilitation plans have been delivered to both environmental and mining agencies. The data from this drilling will be used for estimation of in situ ore tonnes and grade, waste tonnes and grades and metal mass for reconciliation with the eventual mined material. The drilling will assess short scale variability which will enable the Company to optimise grade and compositional control procedures for commercial mining. It will also enable the Company to confirm the sizing of mining equipment required.
The additional drilling for geotechnical sampling and test work will comprise approximately 50 holes for a total of 800m. These are to be located in pits in the mining areas, within the area selected for the process plant and in associated infrastructure including the cooling water dam. The data generated from this geotechnical programme will be used to determine the load capacity of the ground and foundation design for the process plant site and principle engineered structures.
As part of hydrogeology studies within the pits in the mining areas additional holes will be drilled in selected areas to monitor water levels around pump test wells. This work will comprise approximately 9 holes for a total of 225m. The hydrogeology work will allow site water balances to be calculated which in turn will be linked to overall water use for the RKEF process plant and associated infrastructure.
The Araguaia Nickel Project
Araguaia, which is 100% owned by Horizonte, is located on the eastern margin of the State of Pará, north-eastern Brazil, to the north of the town of Conceição do Araguaia (population of 46,206), south of the main Carajás Mining District.
The Project has good regional infrastructure including a network of Federal highways and roads, with access to low tariff hydro-electric power. The Carajás Mining District, situated approximately 200km northwest of Araguaia, is host to a number of major iron and copper mines operated by mining major Vale SA.
The Pre-Feasibility Study released in October 2016 considers open pit mining for the exploitation of nickel laterite to establish the production of run of mine ('ROM') from eight open pits to supply a targeted 0.9 million tonnes per annum ('Mt/a') of ore to a processing and smelter facility. This facility will use the proven RKEF process with the product being sold at free on board ('FOB') at the selected port of export.
A Base Case of 0.9 Mt/a production throughput was selected because of the Company's objective to minimise the capital expenditure and overall capital intensity, and to optimise overall cash flow, payback, and the economics of the Project.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.