Atlantic Nickel to invest $335 million in Brazilian nickel mine

Privately-owned miner Atlantic Nickel has released plans to build an underground nickel sulphide mine in Northeastern Brazil at a capital cost of US$335 million starting in 2026.

The firm – owned by British private equity fund Appian Capital Advistory – released a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for its Santa Rita nickel-copper-cobalt mine – one of the largest open-pit nickel sulphide mines in the world.

Since Atlantic restarted open pit operations at the mine in August 2019, it has produced 48,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate. Mining from the open pit is scheduled to last eight years, after which it will transition to an underground mining operation, extending the life of the mine to 34 years.

The PEA puts production from the open pit mine at 20,000-25,000 tonnes of nickel-equivalent annually over eight years, while the underground operation will produce 40,000-45,000 tonnes per year of nickel-equivalent.

“Because the grade of the nickel in the deposit increases as you go deeper, almost doubling in nickel concentration, the PEA has not only outlined an extended mine life but has also increased the nickel produced as a result of the increasing grade,” said Adam Fisher, a principal on Appian’s financial team responsible for Atlantic’s portfolio.

The company plans to start a pre-feasibility study on the project next year.