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:: Heap Irrigation Commenced - Acid irrigation of 4,200 tonne trial heap commenced
European Nickel PLC ("ENickel" or the "Company") reports that irrigation has commenced on the first nickel laterite trial heap that the Company has constructed at its Çaldag project in Western Turkey.
Simon Purkiss, Managing Director, said today "With the start of the irrigation of the first trial heap the Çaldag project has now entered into the important phase of demonstrating percolation rates and recoveries. The rate of percolation of the acid through the heap and the level of total nickel recovery are two of the key variables that we are seeking to confirm by this trial. We expect to have nickel in solution within a few weeks and to reach full recovery within six to nine months.
The first heap consists of 4,200 tonnes of 1.15% nickel ore which has been crushed and agglomerated and stacked on a multi-layered plastic liner.
Work has started on the full bankable feasability study for the Çaldag project, situated 75km north east of the port of Izmir in western Turkey. The Company plans to complete the construction of a second trial heap of some 6,000 tonnes and to operate this simultaneously with the first heap. Based on the expected performance of these heaps from previous laboratory testwork, the Company expects to complete the feasability study on the Çaldag project in mid 2005.
ENickel is developing a nickel deposit at Çaldag where it has a nickel resource at relatively shallow depths which can be mined by open pit methods. The Company is in the process of demonstrating that the rock laterites of Turkey and other areas of the Balkans can be treated using simple acid leach process which will provide a lower cost nickel production route than conventional technologies.
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