Intex budgets $2.8B for Mindoro nickel project
Intex Resources ASA of Norway has committed to invest $2.8 billion in the development of its flagship Mindoro nickel project.
EVP Sven Monrad Jensen said Thursday at the Mining Philippines 2013 Conference and Exhibit in Pasay City that the Oslo-based firm had earmarked capital expenditures of $981 million for the first stage of the project.
The next two stages were allocated $978 million and $885 million, respectively.
Intex plans to use low-grade nickel ore to be able to use just about all the ore in its area.
Operations will also feature the country’s first nickel refinery (in line with government’s push for more value-added economic activities) and “clean” electricity generation that will benefit the local grid.
The Mindoro nickel project is located at an area rich with limonite ore, which appears on the surface as brown clay and is processed through hydrometallurgy, using acid.
The water and the heat that escape from the chemical reaction during processing will be recycled by Intex into steam to drive the turbines of a 110-megawatt (MW) power generation plant.
Processing is seen to generate enough electricity to power operations and the excess will likely be sold to the local grid in Mindoro, Jensen said.
Deeper into the ground is saprolite, which miners traditionally extract separately and ship overseas for smelting.
Intex’s plan is to mine both ore types in the order and ratio in which they occur in order to minimize stockpiles and rehandling.
The unique process has been patented as it combines traditional hydrometallurgical processing of limonite ore alongside atmospheric leaching for saprolite, followed by saprolite neutralization before metals extraction.
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