CAPE TOWN, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Canada’s Continental Nickel Ltd CNI.V sees its new nickel mine in Tanzania starting to export its output by 2014, the company’s chief executive said on Monday.
Continental is a subsidiary of Australian junior miner IMX Resources NL, which owns a 30 percent share of the early stage Nachingwea nickel sulphide project in Tanzania.
“Our objective is to outline upwards of 50,000 tonnes of contained nickel metal... (and) we could start exporting by 2014,” Continental’s chief executive Craig MacDougall told Reuters on the sidelines of a mining conference in Cape Town.
“The initial results we’ve had are very encouraging, with high grades of nickel very close to surface,” MacDougall said.
He said the high grades would better insulate the company from market price fluctuations and the company “could conceivably” operate at lower nickel prices.
MacDougall said that if feasibility study results were positive, Continental would proceed with developing mine operations, including building a floating concentrator on site that would prepare the concentrate for shipment overseas.
But the company, which has spent C$11 million ($8.97 million) since 2007 exploring and drilling, wanted to map its site comprehensively before developing the mine.
MacDougall said the proposed development at the Ntaka intrusion could cost in the region of $120 million, although these were not firm numbers.
“The more immediate market concern for us is access to capital to fund ongoing exploration,” MacDougall said of the scarcity of venture capital due to a global economic crisis.
The Nachingwea project is in the south of Tanzania near the border with Mozambique and about 200 km from Tanzania’s Mewara port.
The Kabanga district in the north of Tanzania has of one the world’s largest undeveloped nickel sulphide reserves, estimated at 46 million tonnes. (Reporting by Wendell Roelf, editing by Anthony Barker)