First nickel produced at the PNP1000 operation
Brazilian Nickel PLC (“BRN” or the “Company”), the privately held UK company developing a nickel laterite heap leach project in Brazil, is pleased to announce that, after an 18 month construction and commissioning period, continuous nickel production has begun from the Piauí Nickel Project (“PNP”). The first Nickel Hydroxide Product (“NHP”) was produced from the world’s first stand-alone nickel laterite heap leaching operation. This initial production from the PNP1000 will ramp up to produce 1,400 tonnes per annum (“tpa”) of nickel in NHP and this is the first step towards much high production rates later.
- First nickel produced at the PNP1000 operation
- Annual production guidance from PNP1000 for 2022 of 300 tonnes of nickel and 3 tonnes of cobalt
- Anticipated annual production guidance from 2023 for PNP1000 of 1,400 tonnes of nickel and 35 tonnes of cobalt
- The PNP1000 operation will provide 215 jobs which have been filled by the residents of the local communities for over 70% of the positions.
Mike Oxley, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are a producer! Although only a junior mining company with a small team and budget, we have successfully put the PNP1000 into operation. The production of nickel and cobalt at PNP1000 is a great achievement for the Company. We are particularly proud to be bringing online a new stream of critical metals in this current environment where there is a growing need for a secure supply of nickel and cobalt which is required in green technologies, such as electric vehicles and solar panels.
I would like to publicly share my enormous appreciation for the great work carried out by the team. Given the global disruptions of the last couple of years, what they have achieved is stunning and I am immensely proud of them, particularly because so many of the team are from the local project area. Through their hard work and dedication, they have shown how the simplicity of the heap leach processes can lead to rapid commissioning and start-up such that the challenge of supplying ever increasing demand for nickel to global markets can be met. Well Done!”
Anne Oxley, Technical Director, said: “This is a huge step for Brazilian Nickel as we become a nickel laterite heap leach producer. Producing nickel in NHP from our low carbon process will help the planet’s race to combat climate change. The product will feed the ever growing demand from electric vehicles.
The knowledge and skills that have been developed over this process will be invaluable to the final delivery of the larger PNP operation. Production at PNP1000 will further develop the skills of our team and capabilities of our systems and processes.
I would like to thank all those involved; our workforce, contractors and consultants, that have helped Brazilian Nickel commission the PNP1000 and achieve this commencement of production milestone.”
In 2016 and 2017 Brazilian Nickel successfully demonstrated large scale heap leaching, purification and recovery of nickel and cobalt from Piaui ore. The Company has expanded the existing demonstration plant to develop the PNP1000 operation. First production of nickel has been achieved at the operation, a major milestone for the Company.
Further work is to be completed on the cobalt circuit over the next four to six months. As there is much less cobalt in the ore than nickel, it takes some time for cobalt tenors in solution to reach the required levels for Cobalt Hydroxide Production (“CHP”) to begin. A further announcement on the commencement of CHP production is expected later this year.
During the construction phase of the PNP1000 operation the Company has held regular meetings with key local stakeholders and leaders that developed a training course scheme that was offered to 120 local participants, of which 80 have been hired for PNP1000 operations.
The PNP1000 operation will help establish and develop the downstream marketing of Brazilian Nickel’s products. The Company will also continue to seek opportunities to further reduce CO2 emissions at the project.
Source: Company Press Release