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Ardea Resources kicks off DFS on giant WA nickel project


Ardea Resources is developing a world-class nickel-cobalt project in the WA’s Eastern Goldfields, with a strong focus on minimising its environmental footprint and rehabilitation.

Ardea Resources (ASX: ARL) has launched a $98.5 million definitive feasibility study (DFS), fully funded by a powerhouse Japanese consortium, for its giant Goongarrie Hub nickel project that sits 70km north-west of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields region.


The Goongarrie Hub is an integral part of the company’s Kalgoorlie nickel project (KNP) that embraces a collection of deposits combining to host what it says is the biggest nickel-cobalt resource in the developed world. Japanese giants Sumitomo Metal Mining and Mitsubishi Corporation have agreed to stump up the DFS funding as part of a deal to claim a 50 per cent cut in the Goongarrie Hub operation.


The global mineral resource estimate for the project sits at an eye-watering 854 million tonnes grading 71 per cent nickel and 0.045 per cent cobalt, containing 6.1 million tonnes of nickel and 386,000 tonnes of cobalt. The important measured component of the resource sits at 22 million tonnes at grades of 0.94 per cent nickel and 0.079 per cent cobalt, containing 207,000 tonnes of nickel and 17,000 tonnes of cobalt.


Just last week, the company revealed it had launched an 888-hole DFS drilling campaign at the Goongarrie Hub for 51,745m, to lift its numbers for the measured component in a bid to increase confidence in the resource and firm up on its expected payback period.


The Goongarrie Hub DFS is the first Critical Minerals collaboration between Australia and Japan, with the project expected to be a multi-decade nickel-cobalt operation that provides supply chain diversity, security and meets the high ESG standards expected from Australia and Japan.
Ardea Resources Managing Director and CEO Andrew Penkethman

The agreement with the Japanese duo also includes a provision for it to use its considerable muscle to assist Ardea in sourcing debt financing for the project. Additionally, the company and the consortium have agreed on funding support arrangements to enable DFS-related activity to continue into this year’s second quarter.


Ardea says several of its executives have already been transferred to the KNP to manage the DFS, including project director Matt Read and technical services general manager Mike Miller. The DFS has been separated into six key work packages including process plant and process plant utilities, non-process infrastructure, approvals, geology, mining and hydrogeology.


Leading global engineering and consulting firm Ausenco has been awarded the contract for the process plant and process plant utilities components, while other work packages are expected to be awarded in due course.


Ausenco minerals and metals (APAC/Africa) president Reuben Joseph said the company had assembled a team with expertise across all aspects of nickel laterite process design and operation and which also featured project-phase experience spanning feasibility studies and extending through to detailed design, execution, commissioning and operations.


The DFS is slated to take up to 18 months to complete, ready for delivery in the second half of next year.


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