The project reached a key milestone through the delivery of first ore from mine to mill for plant commissioning. With this achievement the project remains well on schedule for first concentrate production in early Q4/2014.

Paul Conibear, President and CEO commented, "Through the hard work of the entire team at the Eagle Mine, along with great community support, we are very excited to be in a position to deliver the project on time and on budget. The Company’s focus remains on ensuring that all remaining development activities continue to meet or exceed targets as we look forward to the Eagle Mine becoming a significant cash flow generator for the Company and a tangible contributor to the economy of the region prior to year end."

Recent project highlights include:

  • Mine surface facility construction is 100% complete, and underground development to facilitate production ramp-up is on track.
  • The ore haulage route agreement through the City of Marquette was approved by the Marquette City Commission in May. Ore shipments to the mill commenced in early July as scheduled.
  • Mill site construction is over 90% complete and commissioning with first feed is expected within the next 8 weeks.
  • Commencement and ramp-up of concentrate production is expected by early Q4/14, with full commercial production expected during Q2/15.
  • Negotiations for off-take of nickel and copper concentrates have resulted in sales agreements for a significant portion of the production with competitive terms.
  • Total capital cost forecast remains at $400 million, with final costs expected to come in on or slightly under budget.
  • The number of employees and contractors onsite for construction and operations peaked at over 700 in the second quarter with over 75% local employee content.
  • Operational readiness is on plan, with recruitment 100% complete.
  • As of July 1st Eagle has worked over 700,000 hours since its last lost-time injury, achieving the best safety record across all company operations.

Exploration work continues from underground with in-fill and step out drilling on the Eagle Mine deposit and from surface on targets relatively close to the Eagle Mine. Initial surface drilling priority has been for step out drilling on the Eagle East deposit, an ultramafic intrusion which lies 1 kilometer east of the Eagle Mine. The accompanying map and long section show the location of Eagle East in relation to the Eagle deposit. Directional drilling was used to drill multiple down-plunge deviations from a single parent hole to trace the Eagle East feeder to depth.

The drilling intersected deep semi-massive sulphide and intrusive breccia interpreted to be the feeder dyke to Eagle East. A summary of the composite intervals from the first two down plunge holes drilled is shown below, along with preliminary sections showing location of the two holes. Highlights include:

  • 34.58 meters at 1.33% nickel and 1.02% copper (DDH 08EA222C, 832.68 meters to 867.26 meters)
  • 9.18 meters at 1.62% nickel, 1.32% copper (DDH 08EA222C, 867.26 meters to 876.44 meters)
  • 23.79 meters at 1.44% nickel and 1.06% copper (DDH 08EA222D, 839.45 meters to 863.24 meters)
  • 6.5 meters at 1.67% nickel and 1.89% copper (DDH 08EA222D, 932.21 meters to 938.71 meters)

Eagle East hosts disseminated mineralisation along the keel and margins of the intrusion. Grades are typically in the range of 0.3% to 1% nickel and 0.3% to 0.7% copper. Thin massive sulphide occurs along the base of the intrusion and ranges in thickness from centimeters to almost three meters. To date, no Mineral Resource has been defined at Eagle East.

The semi-massive sulphide breccia character and higher grade metal content in the new intercepts from Eagle East are similar to parts of the Eagle Mine deposit. They are evidence that with depth, Eagle East becomes more analogous to the Eagle deposit than the Company previously thought, which increases its potential for higher grade mineralization significantly. Higher grade mineralization has now been encountered in three deviation holes plunging more than 200 m down dip from the bottom of previously drilled mineral intercepts.