Exploratory drilling, targeting potentially prodigious nickel and cobalt ores in Mineral Block 21 in the Wilayat of Ibra, has commenced, according to the block’s concessionaire.

Knights Bay, a UK-based strategic mineral mining firm, said in a post on Saturday that the start of exploratory drilling in its sprawling concession in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate follows the completion of a geotechnical survey of the site.

Knights Bay’s Investor Relations Director, Max Beck, noted in the post that the start of exploratory drilling also comes on the heels of the relocation of the company’s corporate office from the UK to the Sultanate of Oman.

Under an agreement signed with Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals in March this year, Knights Bay received concession rights to a massive 1,4000 sq km block, described as hosting “a new potentially world-class nickel laterite deposit with cobalt, chrome, and iron-ore credits”.

“Initial surveying of 1,444 km2 within Mineral Block 21 has allowed (Knights Bay) to focus on approximately 280 km2 of well-developed nickel and cobalt laterites beneath a cover of limestone,” said Beck in the post.

“Knights Bay’s plan is to drill 27 holes in two tranches and will represent the first phase of a drill program that is in 4 phases to drill sufficient resources and reserves to allow Knights Bay to capitalise new treatment plants to recover Nickel, Cobalt, Iron and Chromium.”

Further, in keeping with the company’s commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of its mining operations in the Block, Knights Bay is pursuing an alternative method for treating the laterites excavated from the site.

This alternative method, said Beck, will enable the “green low carbon primary extraction of nickel and cobalt in a pyrometallurgical (dry, heat based) method, and allows by-product iron and chromium”, noting that the methodology “offers an improvement in the risk profile of precedent equipment and operations, capital and operating cost estimated”.

Knights Bay’s long-term production objective target is 111,000 tonnes per year of contained nickel in sulphates and 5,100 tonnes per year contained cobalt in sulphates at full production, per an earlier statement made by the company.

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