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Duluth says Twin Metals project viable

Keywords: Tags  nickel, copper, platinum group metals, palladium, gold, silver, Twin Metals project, Duluth Metals Antofagasta

NEW YORK — Duluth Metals Ltd.’s proposed Twin Metals nickel-copper-platinum group metals mine in Minnesota is "supported by financial fundamentals" that make the project economically viable, according to a draft prefeasibility study.

These include "a competitive cost position, high margins ... and capital efficiencies," Toronto-based Duluth Metals said Aug. 20.

The National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report (PFS Technical Report)—prepared by a multicompany team led by Amec E&C Services Inc. (Amec)—confirms the Twin Metals project’s "outstanding regional and local infrastructure and competitive advantages," it added.

The technical report estimated that the mine will produce about 5.8 billion pounds of copper, 1.2 billion pounds of nickel, 1.5 million ounces of platinum, 4 million ounces of palladium, 1 million ounces of gold and 25.2 million ounces of silver over the planned 30 years of operation.

"The PFS Technical Report validates the (Twin Metals) project to be one of the most compelling greenfield copper-nickel development projects in the world," Duluth Metals president and chief executive officer Kelly Osborne said in a statement.

"The foundations of the (Twin Metals) project are its tremendous mineral resource, technically sound engineering and test work, strong operating margins and location in a state that supports the mining industry and has ready-built mining infrastructure and an experienced work force to support a large-scale mining operation," he said.

The project holds a pretax base case net present value of Canadian $1.5 billion ($1.4 billion) at an 8-percent discount factor, according to Amec. The after-tax base case net present value was placed at C$900 million ($800 million) with the same discount factor, according to London-based PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Duluth Metals gained control of the project last month after London-based Antofagasta Plc terminated its option to purchase a majority interest in the proposed mine (, July 7). The move gave Duluth a 180-day buyback option on Antofagasta’s 40-percent stake in the project.

The full version of the PFS Technical Report will be filed within 45 days, Duluth Metals said.

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