Xstrata Nickel’s Sudbury operations consist of the Nickel Rim South mine, Fraser Mine, a mill and a smelter. The facilities are spread throughout the 60 kilometre, oval-shaped geological formation known as the Sudbury Basin. Nickel and copper are the primary metals but cobalt and precious metals, such as platinum are also produced.
Nickel Rim South was discovered in 2001 and is expected to provide high value ore feed for more than 15 years. The mine is located nine kilometres north of the Sudbury smelter. Full mine production was achieved in 2010 as the CAD920 million Nickel Rim South Project was delivered on time and within budget. Nickel Rim South will continue to ramp up to reach the 1.25 million tonne per annum nameplate production capacity in 2011, delivering 18,000 tonnes of nickel as well as significant amounts of copper and precious metals.
The Strathcona mill receives ore from the two Sudbury mines as well as third-party custom feed ores and produces two concentrate streams- a nickel-copper concentrate that goes to the Sudbury Smelter for smelting and a copper concentrate that goes to Xstrata copper for smelting and refining.
The Sudbury Smelter currently smelts nickel-copper concentrate from the Sudbury, Raglan and Xstrata Nickel Australasia mines and processes custom-feed materials. The smelter’s electric furnace converts the mineral concentrate into a high-grade matte containing nickel, copper, cobalt and platinum group metals. The smelted and granulated matte is transported to Nikkelverk in Norway for refining.