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Western Areas achieves key milestones towards nickel production at Odysseus

The company has multiple projects in the pipeline to drive nickel production well into the future.
project site
Odysseus nickel ore reserve has substantially increased in FY19

Western Areas Ltd (ASX:WSA) is making significant progress on early capital works and post-DFS (definite feasibility study) planning activities at its Odysseus nickel project in Western Australia.

DFS results

The company’s activities are progressing as planned and to budget, with several key recent milestones achieved:

Schlumberger submersible pump installed to accelerate dewatering

Since the start of the early works program, all dewatering activities have been from within the Cosmos open pit.

To date over one million cubic metres of water have been pumped into surface water management ponds, reducing the water level by 37 metres.

The Schlumberger pump will add an additional 100 litres/second pumping capacity from a depth of 500 metres below surface.

It is currently being installed in one of the existing rising main infrastructure holes. A step change in dewatering will be achieved via the introduction of this pump.

• Decline rehabilitation mining contract awarded

The decline rehabilitation represents the second phase of the early works program. The contract for this work was recently awarded to Barminco, an underground mining specialist.

Commencing in mid-January 2019, this will take six months to complete after which a pump station will be constructed to assist in ongoing dewatering down to the AM5 and AM6 ore body position.

• Surface water management ponds and high voltage electrical reticulation operational

The first phase of the early works schedule was the rehabilitation of the existing water management ponds and the construction of two new evaporation ponds. These are now complete and being fully utilised.

All the power requirements to run the surface infrastructure, dewatering pumps and for commencement of the underground decline rehabilitation are in place utilising the existing power lines and hired gensets.

• Optimisation studies progressing well

Optimisation studies, including technical studies, for mining the AM5 and AM6 orebodies (in addition to DFS mining volumes) are progressing well.

Western Areas managing director Dan Lougher said: “Odysseus is an important growth asset for Western Areas and should be one of the few new global nickel sulphide operations scheduled to come online as the forecast uplift in nickel demand for electric vehicles impacts the market in the 2022 timeframe.

“To realise this potential, our focus now turns to the next phase of activity related to establishing the underground mine infrastructure.”

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