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Cosmos open-pit. Image: Western Areas

Western Areas has progressed construction at the Odysseus nickel mine in Western Australia and expects to mine the first tonnes from the site in the 2021 September quarter.

The Odysseus mine is part of the Cosmos nickel project and will extend the latter’s mine life by bringing new deposits online.

Western Areas will use a shaft hoisting system which will is based on a 10-year operating life and  900,000 tonnes per annum throughput average.

The company received shaft headframe and winder equipment from South Africa on November 27, which will be transported to the Cosmos site to be installed at the Odysseus mine.

Western Areas managing directer Dan Lougher said the arrival of the infrastructure components de-risks the shaft establishment schedule.

“Excellent progress is also being made in the Odysseus decline and return airway development, which is now heading across to the Odysseus orebodies with 430 metres developed to date,” he said.

“We now have a clearer line of sight toward delivery of the first ore tonnes mined from the Odysseus ore bodies in the September quarter of calendar year 2021.”

Completion of stage one hoisting the shaft back reaming is also slated for the 2021 September quarter.

Odysseus’ AM6 deposit, which includes a probable ore reserve of 2.1 million tonnes at a grade of 2.2 per cent nickel for 47,100 tonnes, has started work on a feasibility study.

Works have also begun for optimisation studies for combined tonnages between Odysseus’ orebodies.

Western Areas has also flagged its key milestones and critical path activities at Cosmos and Odysseus, including the Cosmos’ concentrator refurbishment which is expected in the March quarter of 2022,  permanent gas power in the September quarter 2022 and first nickel in concentrate production in the December 2022 quarter.