NEW YORK A subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. has increased its stake in the proposed Decar nickel-iron alloy project in British Columbia to 60 percent from 51 percent previously following the receipt of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA).
Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Canada Inc. now has 120 days to elect to increase its ownership to 65 percent by completing a prefeasibility study within a two-year time period, according to project partner First Point Minerals Corp.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland-based Cliffs told AMM March 27 that the company "is still determining whether or not it will increase its stake in Decar."
"Absent such election, a joint venture will be formed, with Cliffs and First Point having initial participating interests of 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively," First Point added.
The PEA, released March 22, forecasts the Decar project will produce 37,369 tonnes (82.4 million pounds) of nickel in concentrate annually over a 24-year mine life at a daily ore throughput rate of 114,000 tonnes. The site was previously forecast to produce about 44 million pounds of nickel annually at a daily ore throughput rate of around 50,000 tonnes, with output climbing to 88 million pounds at a daily throughput rate of 100,000 tonnes, First Point chief executive officer Jim Gilbert told AMM in May 2012 (amm.com, May 25).
"Our preliminary economic assessment signals the prospect to be a future viable alternative in the nickel market as a low-cost producer. This fits with our growth strategy to market ferroalloys to steelmakers in North America and around the world," Cliffs vice president of global exploration Sean Whiteford said in a statement.