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MEI Online: Commodities: Metallic Ores: Nickel: Latest News: November 30th 2004


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:: Early Success at Turkey Project - Nickel in Solution in Trial Heap Leach

European Nickel PLC is pleased to report that it has nickel in solution at its trial heap leach project in Turkey. After less than three weeks of irrigating the trial heap excellent rates of percolation of the acid solution have been achieved, with first flows of liquor being seen after 24 hours and nickel being in solution after 48 hours.

The solution has already reached 50% of the level required for downstream processing into a nickel/cobalt-hydroxide intermediate product suitable for further refining into nickel metal. Simon Purkiss, managing director, said today: “We were pleased at the speed at which the nickel entered into solution. The percolation through the heap is very good and demonstrates the efficiency of this heap-leach process. The amount of nickel in solution has continued to rise and we expect to reach the processing level of 2 grams per litre shortly. As part of the trial we will continue to concentrate the solution to ascertain the maximum level of nickel that can be fed to the downstream plant. However, it will take several months to evaluate fully the rate of nickel extraction."

“We are demonstrating that rock laterites of this region can be leached successfully using the heap leach process. This is the first time that this has been done anywhere in the world on this scale and we are now on the way to becoming a significant and low cost nickel ENickel is developing the Çaldağ nickel deposit near Izmir in western Turkey, where it has 38 million tonne resource with a grade of 1.14% nickel and 0.05% cobalt at relatively shallow depths, which can be mined by open pit methods. The Company is demonstrating that the rock laterites of Turkey and those in other areas of the Balkans can be treated using a simple acid leach process, which will provide a lower cost nickel production route than conventional technologies. The Company is demonstrating the process through the construction and operation of a large scale trial heap leach operation. 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.

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 feasibility study on the Çaldağ project in mid 2005.




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