Royal Nickel has awarded Ausenco Ltd. a contract to begin detailed engineering on long-lead equipment for Royal Nickel's Dumont open-pit nickel project 60 km northeast of Rouyn-Noranda in western Quebec. The project is planned to produce an average of 47,000 mt/y of nickel in concentrate over a 20-year mine life, making it the fifth-largest nickel sulphide mine in the world.

The Dumont deposit contains approximately 6.9 billion lb of nickel in proven and probable reserves grading 0.27% nickel, and 9.75 billion lb in measured and indicated resources grading 0.26% nickel. Ore from the mine will be processed into a high-grade nickel concentrate using conventional methods and then transported for further refining elsewhere.

The Dumont process plant will be constructed in two phases. Phase one will have an initial average throughput of 52,000 mt/d, using a single SAG mill and two ball mills for grinding, desliming using cyclones, conventional flotation, and magnetic separation to produce a nickel concentrate also containing cobalt and platinum group metals.

To accommodate phase two, the plant is designed to be expanded by the fifth year of operation to 105,000 mt/d by effectively duplicating most of the first mill. Additional mine equipment will also be purchased to allow the corresponding increase in mine throughput and the potential to implement trolley assist at that time.

Construction and operation of the mine and processing facilities will be made easier by the existence of infrastructure, including roads, rail and access to low-cost power.

Ausenco was the lead engineering company for the Dumont project pre-feasibility and feasibility studies.

In other news from Royal Nickel, the company has signed a definitive agreement with the primary selling shareholders of True North Nickel Inc. to acquire approximately 56% of True North, a private company whose main asset is a 100% interest in the West Raglan nickel sulphide project in Quebec.

West Raglan is an advanced exploration project, where $50 million has been spent on exploration, including the drilling of more than 200 diamond drill holes. Seven zones of Ni-Cu-PGM sulphide have been found to date on the 700-km2 property. One of these zones, the Frontier Zone, includes five key high-grade lens clusters.

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