Consultant Snowden has been contracted to produce the mining schedules and act as overall study manager for the nickel/cobalt deposit, while Aussie group Simulus will provide detailed costings.
Araguaia is Horizonte’s flagship project in Brazil and talks are ongoing about a finance package to build the mine, said Jeremy Martin, chief executive.
A feasibility study in December indicated a free cash flow of US$1.6bn over a 28-year life of mine based on a nickel price of US$14,000 per tonne.
Spot prices currently are US$12,500 per tonne, but Martin says stocks of the metal have fallen to their lowest in five years even before the mass adoption of electric cars.
Nickel is a key component of the batteries used to power EVs and market predictions are for the nickel price to rise to at least US$16,500 per tonne by 2021.
“Horizonte holds two Tier 1 assets in terms of size and grade; the development-ready Araguaia ferronickel project and the Vermelho nickel-cobalt project.
“Our portfolio is therefore well placed at a time when demand in stainless steel and electric vehicle markets is increasing and outstripping new nickel supply coming online.”
In light of the recent fatal dam bursts in Brazil, Horizonte added: “It is important to note that Araguaia does not produce tailings and does not have a tailings dam so is not affected by the recent ban on new upstream tailings dams in Brazil.”