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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Nickel: Latest News: June 4th 2013


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:: DNi Test Plant for Lateritic Ores Opening


The board of Direct Nickel Limited is pleased to advise that the Company's Test Plant has been officially opened by the Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Housing, The Hon Bill Marmion. The Test Plant is located at CSIRO's Australian Minerals Research Centre in Perth.

Direct Nickel has developed a revolutionary hydrometallurgical process for treating nickel laterites called the DNi Process. The DNi Process is designed to treat limonitic and saprolitic ores in a single flowsheet, the unique intellectual property of which is owned exclusively by the Company. The DNi Process promises the $30 billion a year nickel industry greater efficiencies through materially lower capex and opex and an environmentally sensitive re-use of the nitric acid used as the reagent.

The DNi Process has been developed and tested by DNi since 2006 and to date around $35 million has been invested by the Company and its stakeholders to advance the potentially industry changing technology. This test work has culminated in the building and commissioning of a state-of-the-art processing Test Plant designed to treat around 1 tonne per day of laterite feed. The results from the test program, which will run until the end of October 2013, will provide sufficient technical and economic data for a feasibility study for a commercial plant.

Direct Nickel CEO Mr Russell Debney said that the official opening was an opportunity to recognise the work and commitment of a range of stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, technical partners and contractors. "I am extremely pleased to advise that the Test Plant has operated safely and to plan during the initial stage and first eight of an expected nineteen campaigns. The Test Plant and the co- operative research project with CSIRO has been classified as a Flagship Project under the Australian Growth Partnership Program and it is therefore an honour to have the WA Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Housing, The Hon Bill Marmion, officially open the plant," Mr Debney said.

Mr Debney said the Test Plant program would not have been possible without the close involvement at both a technical and financial level of the Company's industry, strategic and R&D partners, including Teck Resources Limited (Teck) and the CSIRO, both of which are also major investors in the Company. The international significance of the DNi Process is also recognised under DNi's Co-operation Agreement with Indonesia's largest nickel producer, PT ANTAM.

The operating team at the Test Plant is being led by DNi with the assistance of experienced personnel from CSIRO, RMDSTEM and Teck. PT ANTAM will also be supplying technical personnel to the operating team for the Plant from July.

"In addition to recognising our dedicated operational team of employees, technical partners and contractors, the board of Direct Nickel would like to acknowledge the strong support DNi has received though CSIRO. We have clearly benefited from the association, and we believe there is no better place to prove the case for our technology than at the Australian Minerals Research Centre in Perth," Mr Debney said.

At the Test Plant, Stage 1 of commissioning is now operating in continuous mode and commissioning of Stage 2 modules is scheduled for completion in June 2013. The Company is pleased with all aspects of the test work to date.

The formal testing program will be completed in 2013 and Direct Nickel is already reviewing plans for development of the first commercial plant to commence in 2014.




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