Metminco has entered into a binding term sheet to acquire Sunshine Metals, which holds 80% of the Jejevo Nickel Project on Santa Isabel Island in the Solomon Islands.
The company will also acquire 80% interest in an early stage bauxite prospect, the Tausere Project, located on the southern coastline of Choiseul Island, situated at the northwest extent of the Solomon Islands.
The Jejevo Nickel Project is based on a nickel laterite deposit which was previously held by Inco and Sumitomo and the subject of considerable drilling and studies. The Project combines attractive nickel grades, with close proximity (approximately 11kms) to a site believed suitable for barge exports and is potentially suitable for a low capital direct shipping operation (DSO) development.
The acquisition will provide Metminco with a project that the Company intends to rapidly advance and provides exposure to nickel prices in a period when demand growth is expected to be driven by, in particular, the growing market for batteries to support increasing electric vehicle production. Together with its Quinchia Gold Project in Colombia, Metminco will have two diverse and rapidly advancing metal projects and is well positioned to benefit from any upswing in metal pricing.
Executive Chairman Mr. Kevin Wilson commented: “The acquisition of the Jejevo Nickel Project, gives Metminco exposure to nickel at a time when rising battery manufacture is expected to accelerate demand for the metal. We will commence advancing Jejevo as soon as the acquisition completes. Together with our Quinchia Gold Project we now have two advanced exploration projects that we believe offer near term development potential.”
Jejevo Nickel Project
The Jejevo nickel deposit is an advanced exploration nickel laterite deposit located on Santa Isabel Island in the Solomon Island chain The area is covered by a Prospecting Licence (PL-01/18) granted to Sunshine Metals in July 2018.
Previous owners including Inco, BHP and Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) undertook several phases of investigations since the 1970s including drilling (428 holes including 338 diamond holes drilled by SMM in 2012/13) and pitting (158) returning nickel mineralisation over an area extending for approximately 3,000m long by 650m wide.
The exploration drilling and pitting has hole spacing ranging from 50m to 400m and tested the zone of weathering which extended down to approximately 12m depth. The nickel mineralisation encountered in these holes are reported to have average grades ranging between 1.1% and 1.3% Ni over 5m to 7m in thickness.
The grade range was determined from the results of a statistical analysis commissioned by SMM of 5,524 one metre composite samples collected from 472 vertical drill holes and pits spaced between 50m and 400m apart. Geochemical domaining of the composite samples was undertaken to further refine the average grades for the limonite, transition and saprolite zones of the lateritic profile. Global average densities were used for the various domains.
Source: Company Press Release