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Highlands hikes stake in nickel project

 HIGHLANDS Pacific’s interest in the Ramu NiCo nickel project will increase to 11.3% from 8.56%, according to the company’s 2013 financial statements. 
The increase would be at no cost to Highlands after repayment of its share of the project debt (estimated to be paid by 2018).
From commissioning, Highlands had access to its proportion of 8.56% share of Ramu NiCo’s post-debt servicing, net cash flow.
Highlands also had an option to acquire an additional 9.25% interest in the nickel project at fair market value, which could increase the company’s interest in the mine to 20.55%, if the option is exercised.
The Madang nickel project,  which began in 2012, would eventually ramp up to 31,150 tonnes of nickel and 3,300 tonnes of cobalt per annum.
The US$2.1 billion (K5 billion) nickel project was said to be the largestminerals project development in PNG in the past 15 years.
Its mineral reserves underpin a 20-year mine and the resources had the potential for many decades beyond, according to Highlands’ 2013 financial statements.
Ramu NiCo said  it produced more than 15,000 tonnes of nickel last year and will target 22,000 tonnes in 2015.
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