The acquisition of Cosmos from Glencore in 2015 is now paying dividends for Western Areas. Western Areas announced the results from the Cosmos Odysseus Pre‐feasibility Study, which demonstrates commercial viability of the Odysseus Project and the potential re‐start of nickel mining operations at Cosmos. With the successful completion of the PFS, the Western Areas Board has approved the Project to progress to the Definitive Feasibility Study stage.
The PFS base case findings indicate robust economic and nickel production metrics together with further significant upside opportunities, as well as a very low all‐in sustaining cash cost of operations. The decision by the Board to commence a DFS underpins Western Areas’ strategy to develop a second operating region and thereby consolidate its position as a leading Australian nickel producer.
Western Areas Managing Director Dan Lougher said that the PFS results demonstrate the healthy operational and financial characteristics of the Project.
“The positive results from the PFS, combined with the recent drilling success achieved within 18 months of acquisition, demonstrate Western Areas’ ability to accelerate and deliver value from the Cosmos acquisition,” Mr Lougher said.
“Odysseus represents Western Areas’ next mining operation and the results presented today show that a significant nickel operation can be established for substantially less capital outlay than a stand‐alone greenfields development.”
“We are particularly pleased to have an operation that will have very low all‐in sustaining unit cost at US$2.77/lb, but also a project that does not require a significant capital investment over the next two years, which provides optionality and flexibility in development decisions. Depending on market conditions, the Company also has the opportunity to complete early works where practicable and economic to do so.”
“We believe there are significant opportunities to drive further improvements in returns on this investment, including the potential for significant high grade resources below the existing deposit, as detailed in our announcement on 13 February 2017 of massive sulphide intersections of 5.3m at 15.2% nickel, including 3.4m at 22.0% nickel. The assay from this intersection is the highest grade over a reasonable width ever recorded at Cosmos from 446,000 prior assays under different ownership.”
“Odysseus is a core growth asset for Western Areas with exciting upside potential and progressing this to DFS stage will ensure that Western Areas is ready to leverage an upswing in nickel prices. Being a conventional underground nickel sulphide project, it is a great fit with our core skills and experience in hard rock underground mining and conventional nickel flotation at Forrestania,” Mr Lougher said.