Independence Group set for growth beyond Kambalda nickel
The strong performing nickel producer and active polymetallic explorer, Independence, has a series of stepping stones for both growth and diversification
Posted: Tuesday , 22 Feb 2011
Chris Bonwick, the chief executive of Independence Group NL (ASX: IGO) outlined a series of developing projects for the company on the opening day of the RIU Explorers Conference in the port city of Fremantle.
Bonwick told Mineweb that without taking into consideration all of its other targets in and near the Long nickel mine at Kambalda in Western Australia, there was confidence for an operating life there of more than 10 years.
One of the stepping stones for diversification is the advancing takeover bid for Jaguar Minerals Ltd (ASX: JAG) which has the established Jaguar copper-zinc-silver and gold mine in the north eastern goldfields of Western Australia and the nearby blueprinted Bentley project, another high grade VMS deposit.
Bonwick likened the Bentley scenario to the now well established Golden Grove polymetallic project which since the 1990s has produced a series of high grade VMS pods through deeper and lateral drilling.
He said both Jaguar and Bentley were along strike from the old Teutonic mine and there was a high probability that this part of the north eastern goldfields could produce a significant VMS mineralised belt.
The Jaguar takeover would also give Independence the Stockman polymetallic project (part of the original Benambra discovery by WMC Resources decades ago. With the right metallurgical and milling applications Stockman was seen as being a significant project.
Bonwick told delegates that in-house mine geophysics utilising TEM equipment had not only identified major targets in and around the Long nickel mine but had assisted with other discoveries, including the Rosie nickel joint venture in the north eastern goldfields.
Another valuable tool had been the acquisition in the formative years of Independence of the WMC Resources diamond exploration data base and the De Beers Australian data base.
These had provided valuable leads including outlining the gold potential of the then virginal Tropicana gold project - now a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti and with four major open cut developments earmarked for development.
Tropicana, the biggest undeveloped gold project in Australia, has bankable open pit reserves of 48 million tonnes grading 2 grams/tonne gold for 3.4 M oz.
On the Havana Deeps near the planned Havana open cut, drilling has outlined the inclined gold system over 2,100 metres and to a vertical depth of more than 1 kilometre.
Production guidance for the Long nickel mine for 2010/11 was relatively similar to 2009/10 with between 8,000-9,200 tonnes of nickel contained in concentrates at a grade of 4.1% with payable cash costs in the range of A$4.40-4.60 a pound.
An exciting new discovery for the company is Karlawinda, south of the Pilbara iron ore town of Newman, where gold mineralisation has been identified over a strike of 1.1 km while a second target called Bibra has a large mineralised system now known over more than 1 km of strike.
Independence has net cash of A$298.8 million with interest bearing liabilities of only A$1.4 million.
An inaugural award, named after well-known Perth mining identity Craig Oliver who was one of the Sundance Minerals' directors who died in a plane crash in West Africa, was awarded to Independence at today's conference.
Sponsors of that award included Atlas Iron and Western Areas NL. Craig Oliver had also been finance director of Western Areas.
The Craig Oliver Award will now be a perpetual award at the annual Explorers Conference.