Operations

Forrestania (Australia)

Forrestania is Western Areas flagship asset.  The Forrestania project consists of:

  • Two of the highest grade operating nickel mines in the world, Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll
  • The Cosmic Boy Concentrator, which treats the high grade ore and produces Nickel concentrate for sale
  • A significant regional tenement package, considered highly prospective for further nickel discoveries; and
  • Significant site infrastructure, including a 450 bed accommodation village, grid connected power, water management network, airstrip and nickel concentrate export facilities.

Based on 10 year production targets Forrestania is expected to produce an average of 25,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate per annum.

Flying Fox

Flying Fox is Western Areas first producing underground mine and remains one of the highest grade nickel mines in the world.  Production commenced in 2006 and the underground mine now operates at depths of over 1km underground.  Flying Fox is a low cash cost operation with nickel produced at under US$3 per pound.  Production for FY16 is expected at just under 10,000 tonnes of nickel in ore.

The Flying Fox orebody extends from 250m to 1.2km below the surface and includes discrete independent orebodies with possible extensions at depth. The average FY16 reserve grade is just over 4.0% nickel with stoping predominately from the lower areas of the T5 orebody.

The primary stoping method used is ‘top-down’ long-hole stoping using paste-fill in order to attempt 100% recovery of the high grade orebody. In the narrower sections of the orebody both modified Avoca with unconsolidated and cemented rock-fill plus hand held air-leg techniques are used.

The original Flying Fox underground mine was owned and operated by the Finnish company Outokumpu from 1992 to 1997 and produced 0.24Mt @ 3.2% Ni from workings to a depth of 200m below surface. Outokumpu also operated two other nickel mines (Cosmic Boy and Diggers Rocks) from 1992 to 1999 and an associated nickel concentrator located adjacent to the Cosmic Boy mine.

Western Areas discovered the extensive mineralisation below the original underground mine after purchasing the tenement package.

 

Latest Production Statistics

Reserves and Resources

 

Sales & Logistics

Western Areas currently delivers into two sales contracts, a long term contract with BHP Billiton for 10,000 tonnes per annum of nickel (lifting to 12,000) and a short term contract with Jinchuan of China running to late 2016.  A significant amount of expected production is uncommitted beyond 2016.

Exports to China via Esperance Port utilise an award winning system of containerised shipping, with product remaining sealed in containers from the mine until arrival in China.

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Spotted Quoll

Spotted Quoll is Western Areas' second mine and was discovered in October 2007, as a result of Western Areas ongoing investment in regional and near mine exploration.  Production commenced only 24 months later, in mid 2009.

Spotted Quoll rivals, and in cases, exceeds the nickel grades of Flying Fox, also making it one of the world’s highest grade nickel mines.  Spotted Quoll is a low cash cost operation, with nickel produced under US$2 per pound.  Production for FY16 is expected at around 13,000 tonnes of nickel in ore.

Production initially commenced from the Tim King open pit, which concluded as planned in February 2012 after producing around 27,000 tonnes of contained nickel.

The Spotted Quoll orebody is open at depth with the mine planned to just over 1km below the surface.  The primary stoping method is a ‘top-down’ mining method using long-hole open stoping with paste fill.  The narrower and shallower areas are mined using top-down narrow vein techniques also with paste fill with an average FY16 reserve grade of 3.6%.  Based on current ore reserves, Spotted Quoll has a mine life exceeding 10 years.

Western Areas continues to invest in near mine and regional exploration in the Forrestania region.

Latest Production Statistics

Reserves & Resources

Reserves & Resources

 

Western Areas Ore Reserve / Mineral Resource Statement
Effective date 30 June 2017

Deposit
 
Tonnes
Grade
Ni%
Ni
Tns

Classification
JORC Code
Ore Reserves            
1. Flying Fox Area      965,490 4.0    38,210 Probable 2012
2. Spotted Quoll   342,210 4.1  14,060 Proved 2012
  1,800,490 4.0 71,560 Probable 2012
3. Diggers Area            
  Digger South    2,016,000 1.4    28,950 Probable 2004
  Digger Rocks         93,000 2.0      1,850 Probable 2004
TOTAL ORE RESERVES    5,217,190 3.0 154,630    
Mineral Resources          
1. Flying Fox Area            
  T1 South           132,279 4.6      6,085 Indicated 2012
              55,219 3.9      2,154 Inferred 2012
  T1 North           55,779 5.9      3,290 Indicated 2012
  OTZ Sth Massive Zone           20,560 4.1     843 Inferred 2012
  OTZ Sth Massive Zone   162,338 4.0     6,574 Indicated 2012
  T4 Massive Zone   191,535 5.5 10,580 Indicated 2012
  T5 Massive Zone + Pegs        1,077,114 5.7    61,054 Indicated 2012
  T6 Massive Zone 75,707 5.2 3,905 Indicated 2012
  T7  Massive Zone        256,977 2.1      5,303 Inferred 2012
                      
  Total High Grade    2,027,508 4.9    99,787    
  T5 FF Disseminated Zone       197,200 0.8      1,590 Indicated 2004
            357,800 1.0      3,460 Inferred 2004
  T5 LL Disseminated Zone    4,428,000 0.8    36,000 Indicated 2004
  Total Disseminated FF - LL    4,983,000 0.8    41,050    
  Total Flying Fox - Lounge Lizard   7,010,508 2.0  140,837    
  New Morning / Daybreak          
  Massive Zone       340,126 3.3    11,224 Indicated 2012
              78,067 3.9      3,025 Inferred 2012
  Disseminated Zone    1,887,691 1.5      29,025 Indicated 2012
           3,232,693 1.2      38,065 Inferred 2012
  Total New Morning / Daybreak    5,538,577 1.5    81,339    
2. Spotted Quoll Area      529,205 5.8 30,870 Measured 2012
         1,386,706 5.6  77,597 Indicated 2012
            181,013 5.6   10,137 Inferred 2012
  Total Spotted Quoll    2,096,924 5.7  118,604    
  Beautiful Sunday       480,000 1.4      6,720 Indicated 2004
  Total Western Belt  15,126,009 2.3  347,500    
3. Cosmic Boy Area          
  Cosmic Boy         180,900 2.8      5,050 Indicated 2004
  Seagull         195,000 2.0      3,900 Indicated 2004
  Total Cosmic Boy Areas       375,900 2.4      8,950    
4. Diggers Area            
  Diggers South - Core    3,000,000 1.5    44,700 Indicated 2004
  Diggers South - Halo    4,800,000 0.7    35,600 Indicated 2004
  Digger Rocks - Core         54,900 3.7      2,030 Indicated 2004
  Digger Rocks - Core       172,300 1.1      1,850 Inferred 2004
  Digger Rocks - Halo    1,441,000 0.7    10,350 Inferred 2004
  Purple Haze       560,000 0.9      5,040 Indicated 2004
  Total Diggers Area  10,028,200 1.0    99,570    
TOTAL FORRESTANIA MINERAL RESOURCES  25,530,109 1.8  456,020    
 5. Cosmos Area           
       AM5 479,914 2.6 12,430 Indicated 2012
  26,922 1.9 509 Inferred 2012
       AM6 1,704,548 2.7 45,171 Indicated 2012
  329,443 2.5 8,203 Inferred 2012
       Odysseus South - Disseminated 4,016,949 2.1 84,767 Indicated 2012
  219,641 2.0 4,302 Inferred 2012
       Odysseus North - Disseminated 3,128,943 2.6 81,156 Indicated 2012
  225,248 2.7 6,111 Inferred 2012
       Odysseus North - Massive 145,830 6.1 8,836 Indicated 2012
  124,900 11.2 14,002 Inferred 2012
  Total Cosmos Area 10,402,338 2.6 265,487    
6.  Mt Goode Area          
       Mt Goode 13,563,000 0.8 105,791 Measured 2012
  27,363,000 0.6 158,705 Indicated 2012
  12,009,000 0.5 62,447 Inferred 2012
Total Mt Goode Area 52,935,000 0.6 326,943    
TOTAL COSMOS MINERAL RESOURCES 63,337,338 0.9 592,430    
TOTAL WESTERN AREAS MINERAL RESOURCES 88,867,447 1.2 1,048,450    

 

 

Cosmic Boy Concentrator

The Cosmic Boy Concentrator treats raw nickel bearing ore from the Forrestania project to produce a consistent nickel concentrate product, grading approximately 14% nickel.  Concentrate produced from the Forrestania project is characterised by low impurities such as magnesium which makes it more desirable to smelters.  Current capacity allows for the treatment of 600,000 tonnes per annum of ore, with the potential to expand to 1,000,000 tonnes per annum.

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Production Statistics

Western Areas has a consistent track record of meeting or exceeding production targets, whilst remaining Australia's lowest cost nickel producer.

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