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Cassini box-cut and portal location. Image: Mincor Resources

Mincor Resources has awarded an underground mining contract to Pit N Portal for the Kambalda nickel operations in Western Australia.

The contract entails a five-year underground mining services agreement at the Cassini mine, where early surface works were recently finished.

Excavation of the box-cut and construction of the waste areas, the surface settling dams and the haul road have been completed, Mincor reported.

The contract award also includes a three-year contract at Mincor’s brownfields Durkin North and Long nickel mines in the Northern operations, with an option to extend the agreement for two additional years.

Mincor has proposed the use of underground electric vehicles it trialled as part of the fleet carrying out the works.

“We selected Pit N Portal based on a wide range of criteria including safety, performance, contract cost, experience and capability, ability to meet our mobilisation timelines and the size and quality of their contract fleet,” Mincor managing director David Southam said.

“Their equipment fleet suits our proposed style of mining and, as one of Australia’s largest hard-rock underground mining equipment solutions providers, we will have access to a large range of equipment options and high-class maintenance and rebuild capacity – giving us significant operational and strategic flexibility, which is important when operating a number of underground mines.”

Pit N Portal is a Kalgoorlie-based underground mining services and equipment hire group that was acquired by Emeco Holdings earlier this year.

Southam said some of Pit N Portal’s leadership team had worked at the Kambalda mines previously.

Mining operations at Kambalda are targeted to commence in the second half of this year, subject to Mincor’s board approval and a final investment decision (FID) on the nickel restart plan.

“The project financing process is progressing well with several global and domestic banks and resource specialist financiers now short-listed following evaluation of indicative terms sheets,” Southam said.

“We have also started preparing the organisation for operational readiness, having recently identified preferred candidates for the position of general manager for each of our operational centres. These appointments will be formalised shortly prior to, or post FID.”