Kolosori Nickel Project in Solomon Islands commences operations


The Kolosori Nickel Project, located in Bugotu, Isabel Province, Solomon Islands, has officially entered its mining phase following the successful completion of prospecting activities. This development marks a significant milestone in the project’s timeline.

Mining Contractor and Project Scope:

Gobe Freight Services (GFS) Marine 05, a landing craft hailing from Papua New Guinea, is currently at Kolosori site to deliver essential machinery.

These machines were transported on behalf of HBS PNG, a reputable mining contractor based in Papua New Guinea, which was awarded the comprehensive project services contract.

The scope of their contract encompasses mining, earthworks, stockpiling, and the loading of barges.

Calvin Bazil, a local director at Kolosori Nickel (SI) Limited, confirmed that mining operations are now underway, signifying the transition into both the mining and production stages. The project has also attracted employees from the Gold Ridge mining sector.

Ownership and Approvals:

The project’s mining license, ML 02/22, is jointly owned by Pacific Nickel Mines Kolosori (PNMK), holding an 80% stake, and traditional landowners, who possess the remaining 20%. PNMK is a subsidiary of the renowned Australian mining company Pacific Nickel Mines.

Key regulatory milestones include the completion of a scoping study in November 2021, receipt of development consent from the Solomon Islands Ministry of Environment in December 2021, and the acquisition of the mining lease from the Ministry of Mines, Energy, and Rural Electrification in September 2022. The definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the project was publicly announced in February 2023.

Production and Investment Outlook:

The Kolosori Nickel Project, primarily focused on extracting direct shipping ore (DSO) nickel laterite, is expected to have a mine life spanning six years. To commence operations, an initial investment of $21.3 million was allocated. Construction began in August 2023, and full-fledged operations are scheduled to commence in October 2023.

Mining Method and Logistics:

The mining methodology for the Kolosori nickel project centers on open-pit strip mining. Ten mining pits, situated to the north of the loadout wharf, have been identified for ore extraction. The mining process involves multiple benches, with varying widths. To minimize soil erosion and maximize ore extraction, topsoil will be stripped and subsequently backfilled.

Ore transportation will be facilitated by 30-ton and 50-ton excavators, along with all-terrain articulated haul trucks. A primary haul road will connect the mining pits to the port and stockpile area. Notably, given its status as a DSO mine, the project will not require any processing facilities on-site.

Moisture Content and Ore Handling:

The laterite ore at Kolosori contains moisture levels ranging between 20% and 40%. Ore with moisture content below the transportable moisture limit (TML) will be directly transported to barges for shipping. Conversely, ore exceeding the TML will be designated to a specific stockpile area for preshipment drying and storage.

Equipment Deployment:

In July 2023, the project witnessed the arrival of its initial equipment fleet. This included five RokBak 40-ton articulated dump trucks, two dozers, two Hyundai 50-ton excavators, one Hyundai 30-ton excavator, a service truck, and a fleet of light vehicles and ancillary workshop containers

Key Contributors to the Project:

The DFS for the Kolosori Nickel Project was prepared by Maxwell Energy and Resources, an engineering and project delivery services provider. Additionally, Australian Mine Design and Development, a mine planning and technical services provider, played a pivotal role in estimating ore reserves as part of the DFS. Resindo Resources and Energy Group, based in Indonesia, contributed to engineering studies.

Mining One Consultants, a specialist in mining, geotechnical, and geological consulting, developed the drilling and sampling programs under the DFS. Furthermore, PNMK secured a nickel ore transfer services agreement with shipowner Marinepia Shipping to supply vessels, including tugboats and barges, for ore transportation.

The environmental and social impact assessment for the project was meticulously prepared by natural resources consultant Ecological Solutions in collaboration with Quantum 7.

In an essential step towards financing, Blackbird Commodity Partners, an independent financial advisor, was appointed as the corporate advisor for the Kolosori nickel project.

As the Kolosori Nickel Project continues to progress, it promises to be a significant contributor to the local and regional economy, marking a new chapter in the mining industry of the Solomon Islands.

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