Nova Operation

Ownership
IGO 100%

Location
The Nova Operation is located in the Fraser Range, approximately 160km east-northeast of Norseman, 360km southeast of Kalgoorlie and 380km from the port of Esperance in Western Australia.

The Ngadju People are the traditional owners of the land.

 

Background 

The Nova deposit was discovered in July 2012 and development of the site commenced in January 2015. Commercial production commenced in July 2017 and the operation reached nameplate production in the September 2017 quarter. Since the commencement of the Nova decline, our contractor, Barminco, has completed 26.4 kilometres of underground development. The mine has been in commercial production since 1 July 2017 with the mine and processing plant achieving production rates at or above nameplate capacity in the second half of FY18. All construction activities are now complete.

Geology

The Nova – Bollinger magmatic nickel-copper deposits are hosted within the lower granulite facies mafic rocks of the Fraser Zone of the Albany-Fraser Orogen. The Fraser Zone is dominated by metamorphosed mafic rocks but also includes metamorphosed granitic and sedimentary rocks termed the Fraser Range Domain. Much of the northern part of the Fraser Range Domain is obscured by younger rocks of the Eucla Basin, however it is interpreted that this domain is approximately 425km long, northeast trending, fault-bounded domain that is up to 50km wide. 

The host rocks of the Nova-Bollinger deposit consist of a suite of meta-gabbroic to meta-picrite cumulates which have been metamorphosed to a high metamorphic grade. These units are interpreted to have been emplaced as a layered sill in an extensional sedimentary basis. The deposit is situated on the north-western side of an eye-like structural feature which is best seen in regional and ground magnetics.
 
The nickel-copper mineralisation is interpreted to have formed initially as a typical magmatic segregation Ni-Cu deposit. The sulphide assemblage of the ore mineralogy consists of pyrrhotite (~80-85%), pentlandite (~10-15%) and chalcopyrite (5-10%). This style of deposit has many features in common with various aspects of Canadian deposits such as Thompson, Raglan and Voisey’s Bay.
 


Nova Project orebody
 

Nova Production FY18

In its first full year of production in FY18, Nova achieved total production of 22,258t of nickel and 9,545t of copper at a cash cost of A$2.78/lb Ni.

Nova FY19 Guidance

27,000 to 30,000 tonnes Nickel
11,000 to 12,500 tonnes Copper
850t to 950t Cobalt

At a cash cost (payable) of A$1.65 to A$2.00/lb Ni.

IGO’s guidance contains forward looking statements including, but not limited to, assumptions made for future commodity prices, foreign exchange rates, costs and mine scheduling. Achievement of guidance is dependent on meeting target assumptions. Full year guidance ranges reflect an average of the expected outcome for the year, and Quarter on Quarter results can vary significantly from annual guidance.

Downstream Processing

During FY18, IGO commenced a project to understand the downstream processing potential to directly produce nickel and cobalt sulphate using a hydrometallurgical process rather than producing nickel metal via conventional smelting and refining. A scoping study demonstrated that, subject to metallurgical testwork, the process would be financially feasible. This was then followed by metallurgical testwork using Wood Mining and Minerals Australia (Wood) and SGS Australia, this testwork successfully produced nickel sulphate hexahydrate crystals and demonstrated that the process was technically feasible. A pre-feasibility study has commenced.

Near Mine Exploration

In FY19 further underground exploration drilling will target resource extensions and new areas of mineralisation outside the existing resource envelope. A 3D seismic survey of 58 square kilometres was completed by HiSeis Pty Ltd last year and the models will be interpreted in FY19. A budgeted 20,000 metres of diamond drilling is planned for FY19 to test targets identified by the seismic survey.