London-listed Amur Metals is gearing up for an aggressive marketing programme in large nickel consuming nations China, Korea and Japanas its Kun-Manie project, as the Kun-Manie nickel sulphide project, in the far east of Russia, is shaping up to be potentially a ready source for the electric vehicle (EV) battery market.
The deposit contains the commodities suitable for inclusion in the manufacture of EV batteries and large scale powerstorage facilities. Nickel and cobalt are key components for the batteries while copper will be required for electrical grid expansion that will be needed to allow for battery charging.
The Asian marketing programme comes as Amur on Tuesday announced a significant increase in the mineral resource of the Kun-Manie project, which upgraded it the “third largest among greenfield” nickel projects. Amur estimates that the project contains about 18% of the world’s total greenfield nickel resource.
The 2017 drilling programme has expanded the mineral resource by 50% to 155.1-million tonnes, at a nickel-equivalent grade of 1.02%, equating to 1.58-million tonnes of contained nickel equivalent. The resource increased by 538-million tonnes of new ore, an additional 387 000 t of new nickel and 112 000 t of new copper. The cobalt content is 23 500 t with 23.5 t of platinum and 26 t of palladium also present.
The newly identified resources are located in the IKEN and KUB deposits, which the 2017 drilling programme has successfully linked together, forming the largest mineralised zone at Kun-Manie. The consolidated resource for these two deposits now surpasses the Maly Kurumkon/Flangovy deposit, which used to be the company’s largest deposit.
The average grade for the overall Kun-Manie project is 0.75% nickel, 0.21% copper, 0.015% cobalt, 0.16 g/t platinum and 0.17 g/t palladium.
The in situ metal value of the deposit is $21.3-billion, using March 2018 metal prices. This compares with 2017’s estimated value of $10.4-billion.
“Having surpassed key institutional bench marks of 1.0-million contained nickel tonnes and maintaining a plus 1.0% nickel equivalent grade, we shall be positioning the company as a ready source for EV battery market participation,” CEO Robin Young commented in a news statement.
He also pointed out that Kun-Manie was located in the immediate proximity of the three largest nickel consuming nations in the world, which boded well for the project.
Amur would use the 2018 drilling season to collect metallurgical samples for relevant test work to refine the processing flowsheet and establish the capability of generating n additional copper concentrate and to identify the requirements for generating a nickel sulphate productthat could be directly sold into the EV battery market.
The company stated that drilling for resource expansion was no longer required and would be delayed to early production years when resources were being mined.