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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Cobalt: Latest News: September 5th 2005


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:: Skye Files Patent Applications for Atmospheric Leaching Process for Nickel Laterites

Skye Resources Inc. announces it has filed US and international non-provisional patent applications for the atmospheric sulphuric acid leaching process of lateritic nickel ores, which it has been developing over the past 18 months.

Skye is currently preparing a feasibility study for a ferronickel operation using conventional smelting technology at its Fenix project in Guatemala. While doing this it is also undertaking a pilot plant program to test its proprietary atmospheric leach process utilizing bulk samples taken from the Fenix project. Skye is encouraged by the initial results of this test work, which is, is being carried out by SGS Lakefield Research Ltd. The program, which was initiated in February 2005, is scheduled for completion in November this year. The pilot plant has a capacity of 0.3 tonnes per day.

Skye’s proprietary process is capable of recovering nickel and cobalt from both limonite and saprolite nickel laterites which occur together in many deposits such as Fenix. The process takes place at atmospheric pressure and at relatively low temperatures, meaning that the conditions are quite benign relative to other process technologies. It also utilizes unit operations which are conventional and well tested at other operations.

If further test work confirms the results to date, it would be hoped that the application of this process would lead to a substantial reduction in both the capital intensity and the operational complexity of processing nickel laterites.

Skye is currently in discussions with major nickel industry participants regarding their interest in working with Skye to further develop this process through the funding of a demonstration plant.




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