The project is a joint venture between OZ (70%) and Cassini (30%) in Western Australia.
The West Musgrave Project is 500 kilometres west of Uluru, near the intersection of the borders between Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
The PFS has demonstrated a long life ~26-year open-pit copper and nickel sulphide mine operation with a post-tax net present value of about $800 million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of about 20%.
It is the first development opportunity within the broader West Musgrave province which includes a number of additional highly prospective opportunities including the nearby Succoth copper deposit.
A maiden probable ore reserve of 220 million tonnes at 0.36% copper and 0.33% nickel was also declared, representing ~22 years of the ~26-year life of mine (LOM) demonstrated in the PFS (with the balance of the mine life underpinned by a combination of indicated and inferred mineral resource).
Key project metrics compared to 2017 scoping study
Cassini managing director Richard Bevan said: “We are delighted with the Pre-Feasibility Study outcomes for the Nebo-Babel deposits.
“This is a very significant milestone for the West Musgrave Project and all its stakeholders.
“The PFS clearly demonstrates the strategic value of this project by confirming excellent economics on a long life, low operating cost nickel and copper mine at Nebo-Babel.
“The OZ Minerals Technical Team, aided by CZI’s own geologists, has delivered a very high quality PFS with spending in excess of $50 million to date.
“Substantial progress has been made on the metallurgical and resource definition work packages which has significantly de-risked the project.
“Over 170,000 metres of drilling has facilitated several phases of metallurgical pilot testing and the release of the Maiden Ore Reserve which supports the first 22 years of mining, a remarkable achievement at this stage of study.”
“The PFS considers a modern mine development driven by innovation in mining, processing and power generation.
“This innovation has led to significant improvements in operating costs which now places the project in the lowest quartile of forecast global nickel producers.
Forecast C1 operating costs of the project would place it in the lowest quartile of global nickel production. This demonstrates that Nebo-Babel will be a high margin producer driven by low mining costs, substantial by-product credits and innovative, low power, processing solutions.
“With a mine life of over 26 years, the project will be well placed to capitalise on the high points of the nickel commodity price cycle and be resilient during periods of lower prices as well.
“World demand for high-quality battery and electrification metals is expected to ramp-up over the coming years.
“We note the dearth of advanced, quality, scalable nickel sulphide projects worldwide, which can satisfy this emerging market.
Indicative project timeline (to be finalised)
“Another exciting aspect is that the study is based only on the Nebo-Babel deposits and does not include deposits or exploration prospects within the broader Joint Venture project area.
“There are clearly defined opportunities to add additional value over time with continued exploration and development activities.
“We have recently expanded the project footprint to over 9,500 square kilometres in what is currently an under-explored province with enormous potential.”
Nebo-Babel ore reserve
Shares have today fluctuated between 8.8 cents and 13 cents, which was a new 12-month high, before closing at 9.5 cents.
Under the terms of the JV Agreement, Cassini is not required to fund any costs associated with the feasibility study or any associated option or scoping studies at the West Musgrave Project until OZ deliver a bankable feasibility study report on Nebo-Babel.
Cassini’s 30% of the JV costs (in excess of the $36 million earn-in amount) are funded by OZ Minerals as part of a deferred loan carry.
The loan is to be repaid 5 years after the commencement of commercial production.