OUT AND ABOUT: The Roadhouse flew out as a guest of Independence Group (ASX: IGO) to help the company celebrate the official opening of its Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation.
We were in good company, which included Western Australia minister of mines and petroleum Bill Johnston who applauded the company for getting the operation up and running as quickly as it has.
“On behalf of the McGowan Government, I congratulate all Independence Group staff, project partners, stakeholders and the Ngadju people, on the official opening of Nova,” Johnston said.
“Production commencing at Nova is excellent news for the mining sector, especially as this is the first mine of its scale in the highly prospective Fraser Range.”
Johnston’s sentiments were echoed by Independence Group managing director and CEO Peter Bradford, who declared the opening of the Nova operation to be, “an outstanding achievement” that Nova reached commercial production only five years after its discovery and is expected to reach nameplate capacity twelve months earlier than expected in the bankable feasibility study.
“Nova is IGO’s flagship asset and…is a truly world-class project,” Bradford told the gathered throng.
“It has been rapidly progressed to commercial production within five years of its discovery in July 2012.
“Five years to complete Resource definition drilling, feasibility studies, permitting, financing, and construction and development is a rare achievement and underlies the quality of the Nova orebody.
“This fantastic deposit could have lain in the ground, undiscovered and undeveloped, and we would not be here today for this official opening without the collective contributions of all those people who have dreamed of what could be and have made it happen.
“To make it happen has required a combination of daring, sacrifice, commitment, persistence, and collaborative effort.”
Bradford acknowledged the varied contributions behind the development of Nova from its discovery through to production, including:
“Mark Creasey for his foresight in securing the original land position on the Fraser Range, and for the systematic work that his people did – and have continued to do,” he said.
“Mark Bennett and the Sirius team for their persistence to drill that discovery hole and for the accelerated Resource definition, feasibility study, and permitting to bring Nova to a decision to mine.”
Independence Group has invested $456 million of capital in the construction and development of Nova, and has now commenced the operational phase, which is just a touch beyond the project’s January 2015 uninflated budget estimate of $443 million.
Production at Nova for this financial year – the company’s first full year of production – at the mid-point of guidance, is expected to be about 25000 tonnes of nickel, 11000 tonnes of copper, and 925 tonnes of cobalt in concentrates, at a cash cost of $2.20 per payable pound of nickel.
That makes Nova the lowest cost nickel operation in Australia over the coming year.
“Nova is our flagship asset and represents the type of operation that IGO wants in its portfolio,” Bradford said.
“A quality asset that is high margin, with scale and a long mining life, which anchors our presence in the Fraser Range where we are actively exploring to find the next Nova.”