The Asia Miner

JUL-SEP 2017

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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Page 18 of 59

Volume 14 • Issue 3 | 2017 | ASIA Miner | 17 Papua New Guinea THE Ramu Nickel-Cobalt Project remains on track to achieve annual output of more than 32,000 tonnes of nickel and 3300 tonnes of cobalt during 2107. This follows a record month in May when 3068 tonnes of nickel and 292 tonnes of cobalt were produced. In the five months to May 31, Ramu produced almost 14,000 tonnes of nickel and more than 1300 tonnes of cobalt, compared with total production of 22,268 tonnes of nickel and 1600 tonnes of cobalt in the 12 months to December 2016 as the process plant and mine ramped up to full production rates. The project, which is 75km west of Madang, is owned and op- erated by a joint venture of which Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) is majority owner and operator and Highlands Pacif- ic owns 8.6%. This will increase to 11.3% at no cost to Highlands after repayment of its share of the project debt. Highlands also has an option to acquire an additional 9.25% interest at fair mar- ket value, which could increase the interest to 20.55%. Highlands says the steady increase in output has been achieved through improvements in mine production, including use of hy- dro-sluicing, and refinements to the process plant operations, which are leading to higher throughput rates. The strong production results were achieved despite the planned maintenance shutdown of two of the plant's three autoclaves for 12 days each in the March quarter. The third autoclave is scheduled for a 12-day maintenance shutdown in July. Increased production is being achieved as global cobalt prices reached record levels of $56,000/tonne in early June, driven by increased demand in battery manufacturing. Nickel prices remain subdued at approximately $9,000/tonne, but are forecast to in- crease in future years as demand recovers. Ramu produces a mixed nickel-cobalt hydroxide precipitate product (MHP) which is preferred by some lithium ion battery pro- ducers for use in electric vehicles. Meantime, Highlands and JV partner Anglo American received encouraging results from drilling at the Star Mountains project in West Sepik Province. The first two holes of the current exploration program confirmed mineralisation at the targets tested and provided improved understanding of the geology of the new Unfin and Fune prospects. Record monthly output at Ramu The Ramu project processing facilities at Basamuk on Papua New Guinea's north coast. With over 30 years of experience, BME supplies explosives and related technical services to over 23 countries . • Full range of bulk and packaged explosives • Initiating Systems • Electronic blasting systems • Surface & underground explosives delivery equipment • Mobile emulsion plants • Blasting Science services We pride ourselves in providing world class technical services to ensure every blast brings value to our customers. Tel: +27 11 709 8765

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