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Mincor has received first payment from its first parcel of nickel ore processed through mining major BHP’s Kambalda nickel concentrator, in Western Australia.

Mincor on Thursday said that a payment of A$25.3-million was received, representing 90% of the payment for nickel concentrate calculated for ore deliveries up to the end of May 2022.

The final 10% payment due in August.

“Receipt of first nickel sales is yet another outstanding achievement for the company as we complete our return to the global ranks of nickel producers,” said MD David Southam.

“We are also particularly pleased that we have achieved this milestone, including the development of two underground mines, below our peak funding estimate. This is a tremendous result in one of the most challenging operational environments in recent memory, and a testament to the dedication and efforts of our people and our contracting and operating partners, such as BHP, all of whom have been aligned to the successful resumption of high-quality nickel production in Western Australia.”

The Mincor in 2020 approved the A$68-million development of the Kambalda project, with the project forecast to produce 71 000 t of nickel and 5 000 t of copper over a five-year mine life.

The Kambalda operations consist of the Cassini and Northern operations, at the start, with the Miitel mine contributing at the back half of the project life. The flagship Cassini mine will contribute 56% of the total nickel-in-concentrate production over the initial life of the project.

Major capital works are now predominantly complete, with the Cassini accommodation village expected to be completed early in the December 2022 quarter. At this stage, the total cost of the village is estimated to be marginally lower than the A$15-million guidance.

“We are continuing to invest strongly in exploration, with the first tangible payback from our drilling success at the Golden Mile due to be delivered in July with an initial mineral resource for the LN04a. The programme for further drilling and extensional work will continue in 2023 with a focus on the Golden Mile and drilling from fabourable underground positions at Cassini to target extensions of the Cassini main orebody and the adjacent Cassini North channel,” said Southam.