Belvedere Resources (BEL-V) is launching underground mining operations ahead of schedule at its Sarkiniemi West nickel mine in Finland, the company reports.
Ore at Sarkiniemi is now being produced entirely from underground operations and is being taken to Belvedere’s Hitura nickel mine in western Finland for processing.
During the open-pit mining phase of the project, which ended in December, Belvedere mined a total of 61,361 tonnes grading 0.94% nickel or 371.9 tonnes of nickel in concentrate.
The Sarkiniemi West ore body contained an indicated resource (pre-mining) of 116,000 tonnes grading 1.17% nickel and 0.53% copper.
Underground operations on the higher-grade, deeper portions of the western ore body are forecast to produce roughly 32,000 tonnes of ore. The ore will be transported to Hitura at an estimated rate of 8,000 to 9,000 tonnes per month.
The company also has completed infill drilling at its Sarkiniemi East ore body, about 200 metres east of the open pit, and is working on a resource estimate.
Now an underground development tunnel is being extended to the Sarkiniemi East ore zone, which will allow mining to continue there into next year.
Belvedere produces 2,400 tonnes a year of nickel in concentrate.
The company is trading at about $1.01 per share and has a 52-week trading range of $1.00 to $3.00. The company has 79 million shares outstanding.