The Ngadju People are the traditional owners of the land.
Background and History
Nova was discovered in July 2012, and commercial production commenced just five years later in July 2017.
The operation is now running at the nameplate 1.5Mtpa mining rate.
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
In its first full year of production in FY18, Nova is expected to achieve the lower end of the nickel production guidance range of 23,000 to 27,000 tonnes of nickel contained in concentrate.
Value Enhancement Opportunities
Work to unlock further value from Nova has commenced.
Several work programs aimed at demonstrating the potential to consistently mine and process at rates higher than nameplate capacity have commenced, including the installation of a fibre optic backbone and communications system underground.
Following a scoping study in late 2017 and early 2018, metallurgical test work to demonstrate the technical viability downstream processing of Nova nickel-cobalt concentrates hydro-metallurgically to produce nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate was commenced. This work is expected to lead to a pre-feasibility study through the remainder of 2018.
Downstream processing could unlock significant additional revenue growth as a result of (i) higher payabilities; and (ii) premium pricing for nickel as nickel sulphate.
Near Mine Exploration
The majority of exploration to date at Nova has focussed on the discovery and then resource definition drilling of the Nova and Bollinger orebodies. Very little work has been done to understand the potential for extensions or repetitions on the mining lease.
Recognising this, and wanting to use the best science available, IGO completed a 3D seismic survey over the entire mining lease in 2018. This survey is expected to give an understanding of the geological architecture at Nova and will be utilised to guide drilling programs in FY19.