Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project is a combined open-pit and underground deposit located in Amur Oblast, Russia. Amur Minerals is the project owner and developer.
Pre-feasibility study (PFS) of the Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project was completed in February 2019. The project proposes to use toll smelt (TS) and furnace/flash smelter (FFS) option for treating sulphide concentrate.
The TS option is expected to involve a capital cost of £429m ($570m), while the FFS option is estimated to cost £523m ($695m). The project is expected to produce 350,000t of nickel concentrate a year.
It is estimated to require three years to complete construction.
Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project location, geology, and mineralisation
The Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project is located in Amur Oblast, a federal subject (administrative region) situated in far-east Russia. The capital city of Amur Oblast, Blagoveshchensk, is located on the Russia-China border, 700km to the south-west of the production license.
Extending over 36km², the project hosts a production license comprising four ore bodies containing sulphide nickel and copper. Early Archean meta-gabbros, gneisses, crystalline schists and granite-gneisses are the rocks present in the Kum-Manie deposit. The mineralisation at Kum-Manie deposit occurs within the Kurumkon Trend.
The sulphidic nickel, copper, cobalt, and platinum group metals (PGM) mineralisation is present in mafic and ultramafic sills, which incline up to 60° to the north-east. The tabular-shaped sills have a thickness ranging betwee 1m and 100m. The primary minerals identified at Kun-Manie are pentlandite, nickel-bearing pyrrhotite, and copper-bearing chalcopyrite.
Kun-Manie nickel-copper sulphide project reserves
The measured and indicated mineral resources in the Kun-Maine nickel-copper sulphide project are estimated to be 155.1Mt, graded at 0.75% nickel and 0.21% copper. Contained resources are estimated to be 1.16Mt of nickel, 23,500t of cobalt, and 319,000t of copper.
Mining at Kun-Maine nickel-copper sulphide project
The Kun-Maine nickel-copper sulphide project comprises one underground and four open-pit deposits. The open-pit deposits are Gorny, Vodorazdelny, Kubuk, and Irkenskoe/Sobolevsky, while Maly Kurumkon/Flangovy is the underground deposit.
The mining plan is envisaged at producing 90Mt of ore through the mine’s anticipated life of 15 years.
Conventional open-pit mining method will be applied at the four open-pits, while long-hole open stoping (LHOS) method will be used for the underground mining operations.
The mine is expected to produce 647,000t of nickel, 171,000t of copper, 11,700t of cobalt, 13,900t of platinum, and 15,000t of palladium.
Ore will be processed at the 6Mtpa conventional sulphide flotation plant. It will be initially crushed and will undergo two-stage grinding followed by classic sulphide flotation.
The tailings from the processing will be sent to an impoundment area, which will hold approximately 90 million tons (Mt) of waste. Once processing is completed, the final concentrate produced will be conveyed to the Port of Vladivostok through the Baikal Amur rail line (BAM).
The Kun-Maine nickel-copper sulphide project will be connected to the BAM line through a 338km-long access road. Power required by the project will be produced using diesel-fired generators. The plant will be supported by a fuel tank farm with a 60-day inventory.
Other infrastructure will include maintenance facilities, tailing impoundment area, cafeteria, housing, and ablution facilities for approximately 1,000 workers.
Amur Minerals prepared the project pre-feasibility study report with support from consultants such as Sibsvetmetniiproject, RPM Global, SGS Chita, SGS Canada, Knight Piésold, Wrightech Engineering, and SRK Consulting.