The US$1.5 billion Ramu nickel cobalt mine, in Papua New Guinea, has loaded its maiden shipment from the Basamuk process plant, the developers, Highlands Pacific, reported yesterday.
“This is a major milestone for the project and will be the first of many shipments to follow,” Highlands Pacific managing director John Gooding said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange.
“This maiden shipment from commissioning is only a relatively small amount, however, as the project builds to its full capacity, the shipment will increase.
” The shipment consisted of 576 tonnes of mixed nickel cobalt hydroxide intermediate product, containing some 217 tonnes of nickel and 19 tonnes of cobalt. The product was being exported to a Chinese customer.
The Ramu project, located 75km southwest of the provincial capital of Madang, contains an estimated resource of 143 million tonnes at 1.01% nickel and 0.1% cobalt. Year-to-date, some 9,465 tonnes of mixed nickel cobalt hydroxide intermediate product has been produced, containing around 3,536 tonnes of nickel and 322 tonnes of cobalt.
Once in full production, by middle of next year, the Ramu project would produce some 31,150 tonnes of nickel and 3,300 tonnes of cobalt annually, placing it as one of the world’s top 15 nickel producers.
Highlands Pacific holds an 8.56% interest in the Ramu project.