Stage 1 of the ferronickel project is targeted to produce 14,500tpa of nickel


Trial mining campaign at the Araguaia nickel project. (Credit: Horizonte Minerals Plc)

UK-based Horizonte Minerals has started construction on its 100%-owned Araguaia nickel project in the Pará State in northern Brazil.

The initial capital cost of the nickel development project is $443m.

Horizonte Minerals arranged a funding package of $633m by the end of last year to develop the project, with the excess funds to be used for general working capital purposes.

According to the company, its tier 1 project has a 24-month construction timeframe. Stage 1 of the project is targeted to produce 14,500 tonnes per annum (tpa) of nickel.

The firm expects Araguaia to be a large high-grade scalable, low-cost producer that will have a long mine life, while being a low-carbon source of ferronickel.

Horizonte Minerals CEO Jeremy Martin said: “We are a step closer to achieving our vision of bringing this Project into production and generating first revenues. This all comes at a time where the nickel market is facing constrained supply which will benefit Horizonte as we become a globally significant producer.

“Our team have made excellent progress on the key aspects of engineering, procurement and site works. Whilst we are facing inflationary pressures along with all other global projects, to date we have been able to award approximately 50% of our pre contingency project direct capex on budget, which is a very positive result.”

The nickel development company has awarded the majority of the main long-lead equipment contracts for the project. These include awarding of the furnace contract, earthworks contract, and the engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) contract.

The EPCM contract for the ferronickel project was awarded in March 2022 to Pöyry Tecnologia, the Brazilian subsidiary of AFRY.

Earlier this month, Copa Construção was awarded the earthworks contract for the Araguaia nickel project.

By the end of last month, Horizonte Minerals issued contracts with a combined value of $204m. An additional $66m worth contracts are to be awarded imminently, said the nickel development firm.