European Electric Metals (EVX) announced that it has engaged the services of the Nordmin Group of Companies to undertake a site inspection and to comment on the apparent condition of the surface and underground infrastructure and equipment of Skroska mine in Albania. EVX expects the technical team of Nordmin to be on site in December 2018.
The Nordmin Group of Companies is a 100% North American owned and operated provider of comprehensive EPC and EPCM solutions worldwide to industrial sectors spanning resource and project definition through construction and site closure. They provide a diverse portfolio of sustained services in engineering, procurement, contract management, and construction execution for a complete and co-ordinated deliverable. The group includes Nordmin Engineering, Nordmin Constructors and Nordmin Operators, and is based in Thunder Bay, Ontario with offices in Sudbury, Ontario, Kamloops, British Columbia and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The site inspection will allow Nordmin to comment on whether the existing underground workings and mine equipment appear to be able to be used if the operations at the Skroska mine are restarted at present capacity of approximately 200 tonnes per day (tpd) or what would be required to support increased production if its capacity is expanded to a certain level or levels.
The Skroska mine
The Skroska deposit had a historic resource of 22.4 million tonnes of laterite grading 0.99% Ni, 49.13% Fe (not 50% Fe as earlier reported) and 0.065% Co. The resource is historic in nature[i]. The laterite deposit is estimated to range from 2 meters to 10 meters in thickness and to average approximately 6 meters thick. It occurs between the ultramafic rocks (serpentinized) below and limestone on top or as a capping. The limestone is a competent rock which makes it an excellent candidate for use as a natural roof for the open stope underground mining method employed in the mine historically and proposed for the future. Records indicate that approximately 1.15 million tonnes of laterite ore were mined between 1985-1990 (by the state-owned mining enterprise) and between 2008-2013 (by a local private company). EVX is acquiring the Skroska mine from the local company as reported previously (on October 11, 2018).
“The infrastructure and development at Skroska are in excellent condition. The recent EVX news regarding elevated cobalt levels describes, in our view, a new discovery within an existing mine. We believe this new cobalt discovery has the potential to positively impact the economics of the project,” EVX CEO, Fred Tejada, stated.
The sampling program is a follow up to the high-grade first phase results announced by EVX on October 11, 2018 via a news release that described 18 laterite samples collected from 10 different underground locations in Skroska. The assays ranged from 0.05% to 0.54% Co and from 0.36% to 1.92% Ni. Ten of these samples assayed 0.15% Co. The presence of this cobalt-rich laterite had not been previously recognized at Skroska…
The samples were taken vertically from the pillars/columns of the mine and have widths varying from 0.40 meter to 1.10 meters. Where two samples have the same preceding number (i.e. 7A and 7B) it means they were taken from the same location and are contiguous. The majority of the samples were collected at Level-815 of the underground mine, with three samples taken at Level-850. The sampling program covered a lateral distance of approximately 420 meters. The location of the samples and their corresponding assays are shown in the EVX’s website.
The samples were sent to ALS Lab in Serbia for preparation and sent to their laboratory in Ireland for analysis. The analytical suite selected was ME-XRF12n. This analytical suite is suitable in the analysis of nickel laterite samples.
Based on the visits completed by EVX staff up to its recent sampling program, the mine openings (haulage, development and production areas) were observed to be accessible and free of major blockages. Electrical power supply to the underground areas was available while major mine equipment both inside the underground works and on the surface were observed to appear to be in good condition and are reported to appear to be operational.
Cobalt and nickel in Skroska
Skroska was mined in the past for nickel and iron. Cobalt (Co) grade was estimated to be very low (0.065% Co) and was not historically recovered with the nickel-iron products. However, in recent sampling by EVX, the cobalt grade in such samples was higher, being up to 0.54% Co with higher nickel (Ni) grades of up to 1.92% Ni.
EVX aims to be able to recover cobalt and nickel and take advantage of the primary roles these metals have in the electric vehicle revolution.
Skroska – Project overview
- A producing underground iron-nickel laterite mine until 2013; currently on care and maintenance.
- Fully permitted; covered by 20-year mining license issued in 2008 that can be renewed for like period.
- With historic resource of 22.4 million tons grading 0.99% Ni, 50% Fe and 0.065% Co. Remaining historic resource at 21.3 million tons.
- Previous mining operations undertaken by state-run mining enterprise (1985–1992) which delivered the laterite ore to Elbasan Ferro-Nickel plant some 58 kms away.
- Recent mining operations done by Gerold Sh.pk. (2008-2013), the current mining license holder.
- All underground infrastructure and machineries are in place and in order.
- The mine is 5 kms to the main highway and 16 kms to rail loadout.
- Recent underground sampling encountered high-grade samples – up to 0.54% Co and 1.92% Ni.
- EVX will conduct due diligence that will include study to start mine operations in 6-12 months.
About European Electric Metals
European Electric Metals Inc. is a Canadian listed public company, with a focus on electrification themed projects in Europe. A major shareholder of EVX is the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The goal of EVX is to become a major source of battery metals such as copper, nickel and cobalt, and the company seeks to do so within safe, stable and logistically attractive European jurisdictions. The company’s projects are ideally located with excellent road, port and grid power availability, and near European countries that are poised to experience significant growth in the electric-vehicle-manufacturing industry. There is a strong battery-manufacturing industry within Europe with many more projects in the pipeline.
[i] The tonnage and grade estimates stated above are historic in nature and were obtained from the records at the Albanian Geological Survey. The estimates done, using Russian Style Polygon method, are roughly equivalent to the National Instrument 43-101 inferred category. No qualified person (within the meaning of NI 43-101) has done sufficient work to classify the historical estimates as current mineral resources. EVX considers the historical estimates relevant in guiding exploration efforts and planning although EVX is not treating the historical estimates as current mineral resources. EVX will need to undertake a comprehensive review of available data, and to complete further drilling, to verify the historic estimates and to be able to classify them as current resources. There is no assurance that such verification or classification can or will be completed.