Amur Minerals Corporation (LON:AMC), the nickel-copper sulphide mineral exploration and resource development company focused on the far east of Russia, have today announced that Runge, Pincock, Minarco (“RPM”) has completed a comprehensive resource update. The results show an increase on the Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) for the four largest nickel-copper sulphide deposits located within the Kun-Manie mining licence.
· The global Kun-Manie resource is 101.3 million ore tonnes having a nickel equivalent (“Ni Eq”) grade of 1.03% equating to a total of 1.04 million equivalent tonnes of nickel based on 1 February 2017 metal pricing with a total in-situ value estimated to be US$10.5 billion.
· The newly reported global MRE has been increased by an additional 31.7 million tonnes (45.6% increase) of new ore, an additional 210,500 tonnes (37.8% increase) of new nickel, and 62,500 (43.5% increase) new tonnes of copper.
· The global average grade of nickel is 0.76%, copper is 0.20%, cobalt is 0.015%, platinum is 0.17 g/t and palladium is 0.18 g/t.
· By JORC resource categories, more than 80% (81.2 million ore tonnes) is classified as Measured and Indicated and is therefore available for conversion to a Mining Ore Reserves (“MOR”) for inclusion in a mine plan.
· The new MRE’s have been calculated using a higher cutoff grade (“COG”) of 0.4% nickel and allow for the determination of Mining Ore Reserves (“MOR”) using a combination of open pit and underground mining options.
· Use of the 0.4% COG and a metallurgical recovery of 80% (Gipronickel Institute results), the Company projects the breakeven nickel price to range from US$3.40 to US$5.70 per pound.
The newly derived MRE represents a substantial and material improvement from previously reported estimates of the resource. Previously focused on open pit production, the emphasis has now shifted to a combined mining scenario of open pit production transitioning to underground production. Using a higher cutoff grade (“COG”) of 0.4% nickel to define the MRE, sub-economic mineralisation is no longer included in the global resource inventory thereby increasing the average estimated grades of the global resource being available to conversion to a MOR. This update therefore provides a resource statement that is more reflective of the production potential at Kun-Manie.
The global Kun-Manie resource is 101.3 million ore tonnes having a Ni Eq grade of 1.03%. This equates to a total of 1.04 million equivalent tonnes of nickel based on 1 February 2017 metal pricing. The total in situ value is estimated to be US$10.5 billion, with the global average grade of nickel is 0.76%, copper is 0.20%, cobalt is 0.015%, platinum is 0.17 g/t and palladium is 0.18 g/t. By JORC resource categories, more than 80% (81.2 million ore tonnes) is classified as Measured and Indicated and is therefore available for conversion to a MOR for inclusion in a mine plan. Globally, the RPM MRE is substantially greater when compared to the previous estimates (H1 2016) at the COG of 0.4% nickel. The newly reported global MRE has been increased by an additional 31.7 million tonnes (45.6%) of new ore, an additional 210,500 tonnes (37.8%) of new nickel, and 62,500 new tonnes (43.5%) of copper.
The largest deposit is Maly Kurumkon / Flangovy (“MKF”) which, including the 2016 drill results, has a resource containing 60.9 million tonnes at an average Ni Eq grade of 1.05% equating to 639,000 equivalent tonnes of nickel. MKF has an in-situ value estimated at US$6.39 billion with the average grade of nickel of 0.78%, copper is 0.22%, cobalt is 0.015%, platinum is 0.15 g/t and palladium is 0.16 g/t. At the 0.4% COG, the MKF resource tonnage has been increased by 27.7 million ore tonnes (83%) with increases of 196,600 nickel tonnes (70%) and an additional 58,000 copper tonnes (79%). More than 94% of the MKF resource is classified as Measured and Indicated.
The new MRE has also increased the estimated resource at the deposits of Ikenskoe / Sobolevsky (“IKEN”), Kubuk (“KUB”) and Vodorazdelny (“VOD”). These deposits contain a combined total of 40.4 million tonnes (an increase of 11%) with a Ni Eq grade of 1.00% equating to 405,000 equivalent tonnes of nickel. The in-situ value is estimated at US$4.11 billion with an average grade for nickel of 0.73%, copper is 0.19%.
Given the size of the newly defined resource and substantially higher grades, the previously projected annual production of nickel and copper at Kun-Manie could be increased by as much as 68% for nickel and 54% for copper. Using the 0.4% COG and a metallurgical recovery of 80%, the Company projects the breakeven nickel price to range from US$3.40 to US$5.70 per pound with the lower price based on Russian costs whilst the higher price is based on current Australian mining costs.
Robin Young, CEO of Amur Minerals Corporation, commented: “The substantial increase in the total Mineral Resource Estimate is primarily due to the highly successful 2016 drill season at Maly Kurumkon / Flangovy. The updated results now make it possible to identify the Mining Ore Reserves available to open pit and underground production.
With more than 80 million ore tonnes of the 101.3 million resource tonnes classified as Measured and Indicated resource, we anticipate having two thirds of our Life of Mine reserve defined. It is rare to see a junior resource company have such a large asset with so much of it drilled to such a high level of confidence. Reserve definition is the next stage which will include an audit of our mining costs. Based on this information, production of 40,000 to 60,000 nickel tonnes per annum to concentrate is anticipated and would place Amur in the top ten producers of nickel in the world, ranking around Number 8.”