The Fenix Project is a fully integrated ferronickel production facility in eastern Guatemala first developed in 1960. In 2011 Solway Investment Group purchased 98.2% of the project from the Canadian company, HudBay Minerals, and gave a new start to the project. Today, the Fenix Project is comprised of a world-class nickel mine, a newly built power plant and the ProNiCo metal processing facility. The project has mining rights to 36.2 million tons of nickel ore reserves with 1.86% nickel, as well as the rights to an additional 70.0 million tons of resources within its license area. In 2014, the ProNiCo plant began operating, and is currently moving towards operating at its production capacity of over 20 kt of Ni pa.
Since 2011, Solway has invested almost US $600 million into the Fenix Project. Potential expansion options include the construction of a high pressure acid leach (HPAL) plant at the Fenix site to treat low-grade laterite reserves with nickel below the current cut-off grade of 1.6%.
Fenix, which uses modern RKEF process technology, was built by Solway between 2011-2014. The plant has been operational since May 2014. Today, the project produces over 1,000 metric tons of nickel in ferronickel each month. A smart predictive line controller (SPLC) is currently being introduced which will allow the plant to achieve more sustainable operations and expand its capacity in 2018. In November 2018, the planned adjustment and tests with the manufacturer of the Hatch equipment will lift the current 75 MW power limit and will increase the capacity to the design value, up to 20 kt per year. This is equal to monthly nickel production capacity of 1,500 tons or more. The Fenix project is scheduled to achieve its target production volume in 2019.
A power generation upgrade of the K-8 boiler took place in August 2018. The K-2 boiler is also currently being upgraded. Both of these boilers allow the project to generate the additional electricity needed to expand production. These upgrades also increase the stability of the entire energy system, while at the same time reducing costs.
As a responsible employer and neighbor, Solway has invested and continues to invest in further developing the social infrastructure in its local areas of operation in Guatemala. The group is focused on building effective communications and providing support to the local communities. Recently, Solway repaired municipal roads and constructed a multipurpose community center. Other development projects include donations to local schools and pharmacies, financial support for sports programs, and sponsorship of training programs for local midwives and farmers.
Solway strives to minimize the environmental impact on the neighborhoods surrounding ProNiCo’s production facilities. Other environmental protection initiatives include reforestation, fire prevention measures, water canal maintenance, and other programs to monitor the quality of air, water and soil, noise levels, and the status of local flora and fauna.
The Feniх mine and ProNiCo are the largest local employers in one of the most economically challenged regions of Guatemala. The projects provide jobs for 1,936 employees and hundreds of local contractors.