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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Australasia: May 10th 2005


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:: Atomoer looks to Nickel Tailings

Atomaer Technologies Ltd has signed an agreement with WMC Resources Ltd relating to the processing of nickel sulphide tailings from WMC's Leinster nickel operations.

The agreement gives Atomaer the right to conduct a feasibility study and build and operate a plant(s) using it's processing technology to extract and produce nickel from the sulphide tailings.

Results of testwork conducted by Atomaer over the last two years indicate the potential viability of the project to produce nickel from a very large resource base. "The agreement provides us with a unique opportunity to create value for the participants by combining Atomaer process technology with a major nickel resource," Atomaer chairman David Humann said. "Atomaer will proceed with resource definition and a program of testwork using demonstration plant facilities leading to a definitive feasibility study and a development decision within the next two years."

The agreement allows WMC to take a 50% interest in the project under joint venture arrangements either at the development decision stage or within three years of the project being commissioned.

Initially the project will focus on the sulphide nickel tailings at WMC's Leinster Nickel Operations and, if the project delivers upon the agreed criteria, then nickel tailings at Kambalda and Mount Keith could be included under the same terms.

The agreement provides for a first stage production of 10,000 tonnes then increasing to 20,000t of nickel metal in high quality nickel sulphide to defined specifications produced from a hydrometallurgical process incorporating Atomaer process technology.

WMC will purchase the nickel sulphide that meets specifications for refining at the Kambalda Nickel Refinery. Any secondary product may be purchased under sales and marketing arrangements. Atomaer personnel from Australia and South Africa will manage the project, led by Andre Lotz who recently joined the company from Anglo Platinum's base metals refinery. The project will be supported by KC Dodd Engineering, led by Keith Dodd.




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