Production of concentrate has started at Asian Mineral Resources’ (AMR) Ban Phuc nickel project, 160 km west of Hanoi in Son La Province, Vietnam. At the official opening ceremony on June 29, local and national dignitaries noted the significance of the opening of the first nickel mine in Vietnam and the importance of the continued development of the nickel industry for the province and Vietnam’s economy.
Operations at the underground mine started May 10, and with the commissioning of the processing plant, production will ramp-up over coming months to an annual run-rate of more than 6,600 mt of nickel, 3,300 mt of copper and 200 mt of cobalt contained in concentrate.
AMR also continues to focus on progressing opportunities to expand production, including extensions to the Ban Phuc massive sulphide vein and selected higher-grade portions of the disseminated sulphide deposit.
AMR’s 90%-owned subsidiary, Ban Phuc Nickel Mines LLC (BPNM), has also entered into an agreement with LienViet Post Bank (LPB) for the provision of a US$20-million project financing loan for the project.
AMR CEO Simon Booth said, “The signing of the loan agreement with LPB provides all BPNM’s remaining funding requirement to take the project through its ramp-up period. Coming on the heels of the commissioning of the mine, AMR is now a fully-financed nickel producer. In partnering with a Vietnamese bank, we look forward to establishing a long-term relationship that will help BPNM as it looks to future growth projects such as a potential smelter and regional expansion possibilities.”