Vancouver – London-based Oriel Resources (ORL-T) has reached a few more milestones on the road to potential production at its Shevchenko nickel project in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. If all goes as planned, the project could see a definitive feasibility study by the third quarter, and reach production by early 2008.
The TSX newcomer has achieved its 90% recovery target in tests on ore from three lateritic deposits at Schevchenko. The ore was processed through South African-based Mintek’s large-scale pilot smelting plant.
Engineering firm, Bateman confirmed that results from the testwork show that it can proceed with the furnace design as planned.
The latest testing, which followed successful small-scale testing by Mintek last June, used a twin electrode DC arc furnace to smelt 188 tonnes of calcined lateritic ore at power levels of up to 1.5 megawatts, to produce 11.5 tonnes of ferronickel alloy. Preliminary results indicate that Shevchenko ore, grading 1.4% nickel, will produce an alloy grading 22% nickel at a nickel recovery of 89%.
Oriel’s definitive feasbilibity study will be based on the same parameters as its preliminary feasibility study last fall which looked at annual production of 31,000 tonnes of nickel from of 140,000 tonnes of ferronickel.
The company believes production at Shevchenko could begin as soon as early 2008 if financing can be obtained for the project by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Oriel has started a 5,000-metre geotechnical drill program on its Voskhod chrome project also in Kazakhstan. The work will form part of a scoping study which is expected to be completed this June.
The company has been in talks regarding potential off-take agreements with industry representatives in Russia and China.