OZ Minerals has been given a stake of 51% in the West Musgrave project in Western Australia by Cassini Resources after making an investment of A$22m ($15.62m) in the copper nickel asset under an earn-in agreement.
Along with joint venture partner Cassini Resources, the Adelaide-based mining company OZ Minerals is carrying out a pre-feasibility study (PFS) of the West Musgrave project, which so far has focused on additional drilling and improving metallurgical recoveries.
OZ Minerals CEO Andrew Cole said: “Recent early metallurgical test work shows significant improvements over the results achieved during the Further Scoping Study with a material improvement in copper and nickel recoveries.
“On results to date, we have also seen an increase in copper concentrate grade while nickel concentrate grade remains in line with the Further Scoping Study.”
The PFS for the West Musgrave copper nickel project, which began in November 2017, is expected to be completed in Q2 2019.
Cassini Resources managing director Richard Bevan said: “The pace with which OZ Minerals have met the earn-in hurdle is significant as it shows the partners desire to progress rapidly through the study stage and the potential of the project.
“So far the outcomes from the PFS have been very positive and we look forward to continuing to share this information over the coming months.”
As per the deal between the partners, OZ Minerals can earn 70% of the mining project by investing a further A$14m ($9.94m) towards its studies and regional exploration.
The West Musgrave project was acquired by the Cassini Resources from mining giant BHP Billiton in 2014 and since then the company has been focusing on improving its geological and technical understanding. The Perth-based precious metals developer and explorer has also been working on advancing the Nebo-Babel deposits through to a positive Scoping Study outcome.
According to the study, the West Musgrave project has the potential to become a low cost nickel/copper operation with an expected initial mine life of more than 15 years. The West Musgrave copper nickel project surrounds the Nebo-Babel nickel and copper sulphide deposit, along with the Succoth copper deposit.