Successful collaboration over many years improves resource processes at Long Nickel Mine


Successful collaboration over many years improves resource processes at Long Nickel Mine

Challenge:

Lightning Nickel Pty Ltd (“Lightning”) acquired the Long Nickel Mine and equipment from WMC Resources Ltd for $15 million in September 2002. The mine was successfully re-commissioned in October 2002.

At this early stage, the Lightning geology team had to implement new resource and mining procedures, introducing new mining software, train all staff and help get the mine up and running in an efficient manner. The ore body is very narrow, which presents challenges when estimating, partly due to block size issues and also there can be issues ensuring appropriate numbers of informing samples are included in the estimation. In particularly narrow ore bodies, block model estimation is less than ideal with respect to correct volume and metal content, leading to problems in mine planning and reconciliation. There is no selectivity in mining the narrow lodes.

Solution:

Lightning Nickel engaged Cube Consulting to implement a 2D estimation process for modelling the Long ore body. The Principal consultants were required to present and justify the geostatistical method clearly to the board of Lightning, as it was not common at the time to use this technique in narrow ore body modelling. This process was implemented successfully and is still in use today.

Cube Consulting work closely with Lightning each year to complete the annual resource estimation process, train Lightning resource geologists, conduct due diligence and auditing of resources and help to improve onsite procedures and ensure “industry best practice”. The Cube geologists have also been involved on contract to complete discreet projects as required, for example, creating a complex three dimensional model of all the intrusives in the Long Nickel Complex from 25 years of “paper data” and re-interpretation of Long structures targeting new exploration areas.

Benefits:

Long relationship and consistency of personnel leads to an efficient resource modelling process.

Appropriate techniques are employed to suit the situation.

Lightning Nickel Case Study