Tests on ore from Horizonte Minerals PLC’s (LON:HZM) Vermelho nickel project in Brazil have confirmed the quality is high enough for stainless steel production and potentially for electric vehicle batteries.
Metallurgy test work on saprolite samples indicated they can be processed using a rotary kiln plant, which is the type being built by Horizonte at its neighbouring Araguaia nickel deposit.
Samples from Vermelho showed a ferronickel grade of 31.8% nickel.
Jeremy Martin, chief executive, said that is enough for a high grade, commercial specification ferronickel from the saprolite and transition ore at Vermelho.
In addition, tests on limonite samples from Vermelho showed a nickel of high enough quality for use in batteries for electric vehicles.
Limonite and saprolite are the two types of Lateritic nickel ore deposits, which are large volume deposits normally close to the surface.
A pre-feasibility study is underway at Vermelho and will incorporate results of the tests on both types of sample ore.
Martin added that talks to finance Araguaia are ongoing and being helped by nickel consumption growing by around 4 to 5% per year helped by stainless steel demand.
“This robust demand story for nickel positions Horizonte well, owning 100% of two Tier 1 nickel projects, within trucking distance of each other with the potential to produce 40,000 to 50,000 tonnes per year of nickel.“