The Nebo and Babel deposits (jointly referred to as Nebo-Babel) is the largest nickel-sulphide discovery since Voisey’s Bay in Canada in 1993 and the first major discovery in the West Musgrave region.
Previous drilling and exploration programs focussed on the development of a large scale, low grade open pit mining operation. In contrast, Cassini is targeting a lower tonnage, higher grade operation. This development model requires significantly lower capital expenditure, capable of being delivered in a shorter timeframe. Cassini believes Nebo-Babel has excellent potential to become a significant producer of nickel and copper concentrate.
Supporting this strategy is the fact that the Nebo-Babel deposit is geometrically favourable given it lies close to surface (less than 50m) and is a flat, shallow dipping ore body, with the higher grade mineralisation occurring at the top of the ore body.
In December 2014, Cassini completed a drill campaign comprising 147 reverse circulation holes for 23,135 metres. The program successfully demonstrated the continuity of massive nickel-copper sulphide lenses and higher grade disseminated zones within the existing resource model, with the mineralisation remaining open along strike.
Independent resource consultants CSA Global Pty Ltd were engaged to provide an updated Mineral Resource estimate for both Nebo and Babel Deposits.
Economic analysis in the Study has shown an appropriate Ni cut-off grade for the project is in the range of 0.25% - 0.35% Ni. As such, the Company has clarified the Mineral Resource Estimate at a 0.3% Ni cut-off, summarised below. Cassini considers that there remains upside associated with the Resource, given the likelihood of high grade extensions to areas of known mineralisation at Nebo-Babel, presenting numerous opportunities for further project enhancement.
The Nebo-Babel project is a JORC 2012 compliant Resource of 203Mt @ 0.41% Ni and 0.42% Cu for 821kt contained Ni and 844kt of contained Cu.
In April 2015 a positive Scoping Study was completed for Nebo-Babel demonstrating a technically robust project with a long initial mine life; low operating cost profile; and high quality product. Preferred development is for a “Staged” scenario that anticipates an initial high-grade 1Mtpa processing capacity mine, ramping up to a 4Mtpa operation after 4-5 years.
The project features:
· Low technical risk due to open pit mining methods and a conventional processing requirement;
· An operating cost profile at the lower end of existing Western Australian nickel producers;
· An initial mine life >10 years with scope to significantly increase this; and
· A significant level of nickel and copper production, with an average annual life of mine production of 12,300t of Ni and 14,500t of Cu in concentrate.
In June 2015, Cassini commenced a Pre-feasibility Study (PFS) for Nebo-Babel.