UK-based Horizonte Minerals has received the mining approval permit, Autoriza o comissionamento da atividade de Extração Mineral, for its fully owned Araguaia nickel project in Brazil.

The permit for the Brazilian nickel project has been granted by the Pará State Secretariat for Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS).

Horizonte Minerals said the mining approval will allow the company to start mining operations at the Araguaia project.

Initial work is undergoing to establish ore stockpiles on the run-of-mine (ROM) pad before the commissioning phase.

The mining approval will also enable the nickel development company to mine, stockpile, and categorise ore.

It will help Horizonte Minerals to maximise the consistency of the feedstock, a process needed to mitigate risk during commissioning, which is a crucial part of the mine-to-mill strategy.

The company aims to establish stockpiles over the next six months, with sufficient ore to feed the plant for the subsequent six months.

Horizonte Minerals CEO Jeremy Martin said: “The approval allows ore to be mined and stockpiled with the aim of mitigating a key commissioning risk as part of our mine-to-mill strategy ahead of the plant start-up next year.

“The Horizonte team continues to work closely with SEMAS and other local stakeholders, towards delivering long-term sustainable value for all involved in this new tier 1 nickel project.”

Located south of the Carajás Mining District in the Pará State, north Brazil, the Araguaia nickel project is expected to produce the first metal in Q1 2024.

The Pequizeiro pit, located 750m from the plant site, will be the main source of ore for the Araguaia project.

It will deliver ore during the first two years of the nickel project’s mine life and contribute to more than 50% of the mine production for the first 10 years.

In April this year, Horizonte Minerals said that the construction of Line 1 of the Araguaia nickel project continues to be on budget and on schedule to enable the start of production in Q1 2024.