Aquila Nickel is a greenfield nickel and cobalt project focused on the construction of a large, top-tier nickel producer in Indonesia. The resource base consists of Maba, a world-class, large Ni-Co deposit located on Halmahera Island. Currently, the project is estimated to have resources of over 120 million tons of dry saprolite ore, with an average nickel grade of 1.58%, as well as over 80 million tons of dry limonite ore, with a nickel grade of 1.15% and a cobalt grade of 0.15%.
Solway acquired the holding company’s exploration license in 2007. Since early 2014, Solway has completed a feasibility study. In 2017, the group obtained all the necessary permits required to proceed to the next stage of the project, including the main mining license.
The Aquila project seeks to unlock the potential of these promising nickel and cobalt ore reserves. The project aims to integrate downstream facilities, develop new, state-of-the-art processing technologies, and complete the design for and construction of a world-class ferronickel smelting and hydrometallurgical processing facility. The ultimate goal is to export value-added nickel and cobalt products for which we expect global demand to grow in the future.
Solway launched its first Indonesian operation in early 2011 with the direct export of nickel ore from the Asera deposit. The Asera deposit is located on the coast of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Ore is mined from the Asera deposit using open pits. The mining operations are supported by several ore storage areas, two piers for loading the ore onto ships, as well as access roads and other supplementary infrastructure.
According to the latest JORC statement, the Asera deposit has an estimated resource base of over 16 million metric tons of nickel ore with an average nickel grade of 1.5%. In addition, Solway estimates there to be additional exploration opportunities with a potential resource base of 40 million metric tons within the license area.
The Bahoomahi deposit is located in a mountainous region of Sulawesi Island. The closest seaport is 27 kilometers from the mining site. All required basic infrastructure is available on site. Automated diesel generators provide power, and mined ore will be delivered to the seaport by trucks.
The Bahoomahi deposit has an estimated resource base of 14 million metric tons, with the potential for an additional 13 million metric tons of nickel ore at an average nickel grade of 1.9%, according to Solway’s internal estimates. The Group estimates this deposit to have potential production capacity of 100,000 metric tons of nickel ore per month.
Solway acquired the rights to the Sorowalio deposit in 2009. The Sorowalio deposit is located inland on Buton Island. The closest seaport is 15-20 kilometers from the mining site. The mining operations use open pits and the site includes several ore storage areas, access roads, and other supplementary infrastructure. Automated diesel generators provide power, while trucks will deliver mined ore to the seaport.
The Sorowalio deposit has an estimated resource base of 6.6 million metric tons of nickel ore with an average nickel grade of 2.0%, according to Solway’s internal estimates. In August 2012, the group received a forestry permit and began full-scale development of the mining site. In January 2015, due to a change in licensing, the territory of the resource base was revised as follows: 7.7 million metric tons of nickel ore with an average nickel grade of 1.94%, and 810,000 metric tons with an average nickel grade of 1.8%.
Asera began operations in 2017, and the Bahoomahi, and Sorowalio projects are now ready to begin mining, as all necessary infrastructure is in place and supporting permits and licenses are valid. Solway expects to receive all necessary licenses for the export of ore in the near future.
Solway has been in Indonesia for more than a decade. With its experienced team, the group plans to further develop nickel and cobalt deposits into highly profitable mining and processing assets which will benefit from the growing local market for nickel ore, as well as the growth of the electric vehicle sector globally. Solway anticipates that these key materials will be in short-supply in the mid- to long-term.