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Horizonte record positive nickel results

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Horizonte Minerals Plc, (AIM:HZM) (TSX:HZM), the nickel development company, has announced positive results following completion of first stage testing of the Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace Pilot Plant for its 100% owned Araguaia nickel project in Para State, north central Brazil.


· Completed commissioning of the ‘Dryer/Agglomerator’ module ahead of full RKEF Pilot Plant launch targeted for April 2015
· Good drying and agglomeration performance achieved over three sets of test conditions
· Excellent product quality – well agglomerated material obtained with low dust generation while meeting target moisture level in the dryer product (18% H2O)
· Kiln pre-commissioning and testing showed excellent calcination with no evidence of sticking or sintering up to discharge temperatures of 1,000oC

Horizonte Minerals CEO Jeremy Martin said, “The dryer tests, which is the first stage of the process flow sheet for the full scale RKEF Pilot Plant campaign have been positive marking another successful milestone in Araguaia’s development. It’s important to create the right blend of ore feed at this first stage in the process flow sheet to negate problems occurring with the feed throughout the process once in commercial production. To this end, the Araguaia material tested formed excellent ore feed, low dust levels and optimum particle size to be fed into the kiln and subsequently into the electric arc furnace to produce ferronickel.

“We will be delivering a further 200 tonnes of bulk sample of Araguaia ore to the RKEF pilot facility in April 2015 to provide feed for the next stage of testing, the continuous 20 day RKEF pilot plant metallurgical campaign. The aim is to produce ferronickel to commercial specification on a continual basis. This will be another significant de-risking step for the project and a principal part of the Feasibility Study. We look forward to providing regular updates as this work progresses.”

Further Information:

Araguaia has a current NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource of 71.98Mt grading 1.33% Ni (Indicated) and 25.4Mt at 1.21% Ni (Inferred) at a 0.95% nickel cut-off; included in the resource is a Probable Mineral Reserve of 21.2Mt at 1.66%Ni. Furthermore a Pre-Feasibility study has outlined robust economics for a ‘base case’ 15,000tpa nickel in ferro-nickel output with a 20% Fe-Ni product over a 25 year mine life.

As part of the on-going testwork for the Feasibility Study, Horizonte has successfully completed commissioning of the ‘Dryer/Agglomerator’ module during late January and February 2015 as part of first stage testing of the Pilot Plant, ahead of the full Pilot Plant launch targeted for April 2015.

Ore Preparation. A 20 tonne (wet) bulk sample of Araguaia ore for Drying/Agglomeration pre-testing was delivered to the IGEO testwork facility at the Morro Azul pilot plant in Minas Gerais, Brazil on 22 January 2015. The bulk sample had been selected for the purposes of drying/agglomeration commissioning/pre-testing from ore representative of a blend of 60% saprolite and 40% transition material i.e. the same proportions as the scheduled feed for the ‘base case’ life of mine used in the PFS. Crushing to <30mm and homogenization was carried out on this bulk sample prior to testing.

Drying/Agglomeration. Drying and agglomeration testing has been carried out over a range of test conditions in the 1 m diameter by 14 m long LPG-fired dryer at the Morro Azul pilot plant. At steady state conditions, drying and agglomeration performance was very good over the range of three test conditions, with well agglomerated material being obtained while meeting the target moisture level in the dryer product (18% H2O).

Kiln Pre-testing. Kiln pre-commissioning and testing has been carried out on the diesel fired long kiln (1.3 m diameter by 9.4 m) at the Morro Azul pilot plant. The dryer product from each of the three dryer runs was mixed with coal and processed in the kiln. The kiln temperature was allowed to slowly increase so that calcine discharge temperature increased from approximately 900oC to 1000oC. Observations of the movement of the calcine material inside the kiln showed that over the above temperature range the feed showed no evidence of sticking or sintering. The calcine product had good granulometry and averaged reduction (Fe2+ /Fet) = 54% and the calcine contained an average of 1.8% carbon.

Full RKEF Pilot Plant Testwork.

Preparations are at an advanced stage with the collection of a 200 tonne bulk sample underway to provide feed for full Pilot Plant metallurgical testwork planned for April 2015. The 200 tonne (wet) bulk sample of Araguaia ore will be representative of the PFS ‘base case’ feed for the first nine years of operation.

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