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.