TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 4, 2012) -
NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES
Sherritt International Corporation ("Sherritt" or the "Corporation") (TSX:S) today announced that all of the systems in the pressure acid leach (PAL) area at the Ambatovy Joint Venture in Madagascar are either in operation or start-up.
Of the key PAL process components, the slurry thickener, three ore leach autoclaves, neutralization circuit and countercurrent decantation (CCD) wash circuit are operable. The final step in the PAL process - slurry precipitation - which results in the production of mixed sulphides, is in startup and is expected to be operational in April.
The delivery of mixed sulphides is a significant milestone towards achieving the production of finished metal, which is expected in the second quarter. The majority of the systems in the refinery are awaiting the production of mixed sulphides to progress into startup and operation. Ambatovy remains focused on reaching commercial operation safely and reliably by the end of 2012 or early 2013.
Ambatovy has an expected project life of approximately 30 years and is designed to produce 65,600 tonnes (100% basis) of finished nickel and cobalt annually when fully operational, more than doubling Sherritt's gross (100% basis) metals production capacity.
Sherritt is a world leader in the mining and refining of nickel from lateritic ores with projects and operations in Canada, Cuba, Indonesia and Madagascar. The Corporation is the largest coal producer in Canada and is the largest independent energy producer in Cuba, with extensive oil and power operations across the island. Sherritt licenses its proprietary technologies and provides metallurgical services to mining and refining operations worldwide. The Corporation's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "S".