Mindoro Nickel Project, Philippines
- MPSA license withdrawn
- Project written down to nominal amount
The Mindoro Nickel Project is located on Mindoro Island in the Philippines, approximately 200 km south of Manila. The nickel- cobalt-bearing laterite deposit is located in the foothills of the central part of the island about 30 km from the coast. The resource evaluation has shown that the deposit is exceptionally homogenous and has the potential of supplying ore for at least 30 years of nickel-cobalt production based on Kvaerner Metals' 1999 Pre feasibility study.
An Exploration Permit ("EP") was granted for the Mindoro concession in 1997. The EP was renewed in February 1999 for a period of two years. In early 2001 the key section of the concession was granted a Mineral Production Agreement ("MPSA"), which secured for Crew the exclusive right to develop the property into a mine for a period of 25 years. According to the agreement the company was granted 5 years to complete a Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) The MPSA covered the area where Crew, following extensive work, had defined a measured and indicated resource.
In July 2001 the MPSA was cancelled unexpectedly by the new administration without due process. Crew has appealed the cancellation to the Office of the President and has suspended work on the project, but the company is convinced that there is no basis for the cancellation of the MPSA, and has taken steps to re-establish the tenure.
The deposit consists of extensive laterite mineralization where nickel and cobalt, released by chemical weathering of the rocks, is accumulating in secondary minerals of the well-developed weathered rock profile.
Crew has completed more than 1200 drill holes and test-pits, conducted metallurgical testwork and computer resource modeling, as well as initiated environmental studies. The company will be conducting a new resource estimate based on the new samples and the upgrade testwork while the title issue is being resolved.
Crew has previously defined a measured and indicated resource of 72.6 million dry metric tonnes ("DMT") with an average "in-situ" grade (before upgrading) of 0.94% nickel and 0.06% cobalt, including 21.4 million DMT at 1.16% nickel and 0.06% cobalt primarily hosted in limonite and transitional saprolite. The global resources are in excess of 200 million tonnes including the inferred resources derived from surrounding areas that are drilled on a much wider exploratory grid.
The Mindoro Nickel project is in the feasibility stage. Most of the resource evaluation has been completed to feasibility level and audited and confirmed by independent consultants. The environmental baseline studies, test work regarding environmental impact assessment and a final feasibility study remain to be completed. The current suspension of activities is due to uncertainties in the title caused by the unexpected cancellation of the MPSA. No further development work will be completed until the MPSA is returned.