Sama Resources has reported results from a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) of development of its Samapleu nickel-copper project in Côte d’Ivoire. The project will produce an estimated average 3,900 metric tons per year (mt/y) of carbonyl nickel powder, 8,400 mt/y of carbonyl iron powder, and 14,100 mt/y of copper concentrate over a 20-year mine life.
Nickel and iron powders produced by the CVMR carbonyl process are used a host of specialized applications.
Carbonyl nickel powder sells currently sell for $25,483/mt, carbonyl iron powder ($8,389/mt), and copper concentrate ($966/mt).
Capital costs to develop the project are estimated at $282 million, including a contingency of $37 million. Operating costs are estimated at $23.96/mt milled.
The Samapleu project is located approximately 650 road km northwest of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and 25 km east of the nation’s border with Guinea. The project would be mined as a conventional open pit, using off-highway haul trucks, hydraulic excavators, and wheel loaders.
Mineralized materials are contained in three pits. The average life-of-mine feed grade to the processing plant is estimated at 0.24% nickel, 0.18% copper, and 11.86% iron. An estimated 44.42 million mt would be mined over the life of the mine.
The plant flowsheet consists of crushing, grinding, and rougher and cleaner flotation. The back end of the concentrator includes concentrate and tailings thickening, concentrate filtration, and material handling.
Nickel and copper concentrates would be recovered by conventional flotation. Nickel concentrate would be sent to a carbonyl refining plant on site to extract nickel and iron. The concentrate would be roasted in a fluid bed roaster to convert sulphide minerals to oxides. If the concentrate is too fine, the feed may have to be pelletized prior to feeding the fluid bed roaster.
Calcined concentrate would then be reduced with hydrogen in a rotary kiln to convert the nickel and iron oxides to metallic nickel and iron. The nickel and iron would be extracted from reduced concentrate in the form of volatile metal carbonyls through the CVMR carbonyl process, then separated and decomposed to metal nickel and iron products.