Future Battery Minerals will move quickly to a pre-feasibility study on its Saints Nickel Project after a scoping study laid out a pathway for the junior to become one of the few class 1 nickel sulphide suppliers in Tier-1 jurisdiction of Western Australia.
The study, released to the ASX today, shows it could cost as little as $8.6 million to bring its Saints project, which boasts over 20,000t of nickel metal at an average grade of around 2.3% Ni, into production.
Located just 65km northwest of Kalgoorlie and 7km east of the Goldfields Highway, the project looms as a low risk entry point for Future Battery Minerals (ASX:FBM) into the electric vehicle supply chain.
Just 15km north of the famous Scotia nickel mine, which produced 30.800t at 2.2% nickel until its closure in July 1977, Saints will be one of the few nickel sulphide resources in WA ready for development in the coming years as demand from battery makers for clean high grade nickel sulphides picks up.
Centred around twin box cut and decline developments at the St Patricks and St Andrews deposits, met testwork shows FBM could deliver a saleable concentrate through a third-party toll treater of 10-14% nickel grade, with recoveries of 80-87% nickel, 95% copper and 84-92% cobalt.
As opposed to new developments which could require billions in funding to get off the ground, FBM estimates funding in the order of $10-12m would be required to underpin the construction of the Saints project.
“We are extremely pleased with the positive Scoping Study results and see this as a significant step forward in de-risking the Saints Nickel Project,” FBM executive chairman Mike Edwards said.
“When the Company commenced the Study, the aim was to understand the economics of the existing Resource and the potential to commercialise and fund further exploration from the base of underground development.
“The free cash flows generated by a simple and short-term underground mining operation of the existing high-grade Resource now provides the Company with the confidence to undertake a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) and to continue exploration work.
“However, the Project provides substantial upside if current nickel prices persist or if exploration successfully discovers further resources at depth to potentially extend the life of mine.”
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