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    Mining company to ship nickel ore to China

    By Ronnel Domingo
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 00:53:00 02/22/2008

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    Close this MANILA, Philippines -- London-based European Nickel PLC said its joint venture project in the Philippines with Australian firm Rusina Mining would proceed with the shipment of 200,000 tons of nickel ore to China over the next four months.

    European Nickel said in a statement posted on its website that the shipments of stockpile from the Acoje project in Zambales province, northwest of Manila, would follow the initial cargo of 6,500 tons of material containing 1.6 percent nickel.

    The firm added that mining at Acoje would continue while nickel prices remain at the current high levels.

    The shipments will provide the joint venture with short-term cash flow as well as confirm the mine model, grades and mining costs at the Acoje deposit, European Nickel said.

    Data from the firm show that two ore deposits -- the other one is simply called Zambales -- have a combined resource of 831,450 tons of nickel contained in 72.3 million tons of material.

    “The Philippines offers us an opportunity to build European Nickel beyond being just a one project company,” said Simon Purkiss, company managing director.

    Purkiss meant that the Acoje project would help add to the European Nickel’s portfolio, which currently includes only a project in Turkey.

    “We are delighted the metallurgical test work on the Acoje ore has been so positive,” he said.

    The announcement “is significant as it confirms that our exclusively commercialized heap leach technology can treat some of the abundant, high clay content equatorial nickel laterites” such as those found in Acoje, he added.

    The company explained that the use of heap leaching in nickel laterite processing offered the opportunity to significantly reduce the capital requirements for such a project.

    European Nickel said it now had a full team in the Philippines and that a six-month, pre-feasibility study on Acoje was underway.

    It added that an intensive drilling program focusing on the nickel saprolite ore was being planned for the Zambales deposit.

    The company said the joint venture anticipated that the drilling program would increase the resource further and that it plans to come up with an updated resource estimate by yearend. Edited by

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