Horizonte Minerals has secured construction licence from the Brazilian Pará State Environmental Agency (SEMAS) for the development of its Araguaia Ferronickel project in Brazil.


Image: Horizonte secures licence for Brazilian Ferronickel mine. Photo: Courtesy of Manthy/FreeImages.com.

With the latest approval, Horizonte Minerals stated that it can now construct the Araguaia rotary kiln electric furnace (RKEF) processing plant and related infrastructure. The licence approval is also considered to be a de-risking step for Araguaia and it can now begin construction.

Receipt of the licence follows the release of the feasibility study, whose results were published last October and filing of the report last December.

Horizonte Minerals worked with Environmental Resource Management (ERM) and local Brazilian groups including Integratio Mediação Social e Sustentabilidade and DBO Environmental Engineering for the environmental and social work streams and the project permitting work for the licence.

The Araguaia Project is located in the south-east of the Brazilian state of Pará, approximately 760km south of the state capital Belém.

It includes an open pit nickel laterite mining operation that mines 27.5 million tons (Mt) mineral reserve of 119Mt mineral resource to produce 52,000 tons of ferronickel (FeNi) per year for the mine life.

The 52,000 tons of FeNi is claimed to contain 14,500 tons of nickel. The FeNi product will be transported by road to the port of Vila do Conde for sale to overseas customers.

The metallurgical process includes a single line RKEF to extract FeNi from the laterite ore. The RKEF plant and project infrastructure will be constructed in 31 months.

After initial ramp-up period, the plant is expected to reach full capacity of about 900,000 tons of dry ore feed per year.

The company stated that majority of workers during the operational phase will reside locally.

Contribution to the local community is claimed to reach more than $700m, during the life-of-mine, including more than $400m in company taxes and more than $280m in employee and contractor wages.

Horizonte Minerals is developing the Araguaia project and the Vermelho nickel-cobalt project with the aim of being able to supply nickel and cobalt to the EV battery market.