Canadian miner TVI Pacific on Wednesday announced that it has received approval from government regulators to start development at the Agata nickel project in Agusan del Norte.
In a statement, TVI said the Mines and Geoscience Bureau (MGB) has approved the declaration of mining project feasibility (DMPF), while Philippine Port Authority gave clearance to develop a port facility for the proposed direct shipping ore operation of the high-iron laterite resources for the Agata Mining Joint Venture (AMJV).
The feasibility confirms that the AMJV, a joint venture project between TVI and Mindoro Resources Ltd, has complied with the requirements of approval, which include, among other things, provision of a mining project feasibility study report; receipt of an environmental compliance certificate; provision of a three-year development and/or utilization program; provision of an environmental protection and enhancement program, final mine rehabilitation and/or decommissioning plan; and proof of technical competence and financial capability.
“Receipt of the DMPF authorizes the AMJV to proceed to development, including the extraction and sale of iron, nickel and other associated minerals in the contract area,” said Cliff James, TVI Pacific chairman, president and CEO.
James added that site development is expected to commence in May 2014 and shipping of the high-iron laterite would then commence in the third quarter of 2014, subject to receipt of remaining port approvals and financing.
The PPA also gave AMJV clearance to develop a private non-commercial port facility. Construction of the port facility may commence upon securing the permit to construct, the application for which has been done and will be followed by an application for the permit.
“We are pleased with this development that will allow TVIRD to move back into production while working in parallel to further realize our proposed nickel processing project for the benefit of our shareholders and the community,” James said.
“We continue to successfully achieve significant milestones that include the results of testing at our pilot plants in both China and the Philippines, and the technical program remains on track to provide metallurgical data required to design the proposed full-scale processing plant and to finalize a bank feasibility study,” he added.
In September 2013, TVIRD and Mindoro completed a regulatory compliant feasibility study indicating robust economics for a DSO operation of the high-iron laterite resources at the Agata Project.
The feasibility study concluded that the project will require a low initial start-up capital of $10.1 million, high internal rate of return of 187 percent and payback within first year of operation; Post-tax Net Present Value (10 percent discount) of $37.9 million; DSO product to grade 48 percent iron and 0.9 percent nickel, which are in consistent demand; and shipping rates to accelerate to 2.5 million wet metric tons per annum in 2015.
Mineral resources estimate for the Agata nickel was pegged at 9.70 million wet metric tons grading of 48 percent iron with 0.9 percent nickel.