Positive Public Hearing Outcome for the Araguaia Nickel Project, Brazil

LONDON, Feb. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - Horizonte Minerals Plc, (AIM: HZM, TSX: HZM) ('Horizonte' or 'the Company') the nickel development company focused in Brazil, is pleased to announce a positive outcome from its Public Hearing held on the 30 January 2015 for its 100% owned Araguaia nickel project ('Araguaia') in Para State, north central Brazil.

Highlights

  • Public Hearing meeting attended by +1,000 people with positive support from local community and government authorities for the extraction and processing of nickel at Araguaia
  • Social and Environmental Impact Assessment ('SEIA') presented to attendees in partnership with the Department of Environment and Sustainability (SEMAS) following delivery of the SEIA to Brazilian authorities in Q3 2014
  • Progressive socio-economic development programmes outlined for local region aimed to bring net positive benefits for local stakeholders

Horizonte CEO Jeremy Martin said, "The positive outcome at the Public Hearing is a major milestone towards receiving our Preliminary Licence (LP) and the culmination of the past 18 month's social and environmental work.  We were pleased by the high turnout at the meeting and the overriding support at the local and state level is a key factor for the future success of Araguaia.  We are now in a strong position to advance Araguaia through the feasibility stage in 2015 and are committed to sustainability and ensuring that our local stakeholders will share in the benefits of bringing this project to production."

Further Information

The Public Hearing was held on 30 January 2015 in the town of Conceição do Araguaia where the Company has its operational base, which is approximately 35 kilometres from the Project.  The meeting was well attended with over 1,000 participants from the local community along with a number of Senior State level officials.  These included the Vice-Governor of the Pará State, José da Cruz Marinho, the Environment and Sustainability Minister of the Pará State, Luiz Fernandes Rocha, and the Mayor of Conceição do Araguaia, Valter Rodrigues Peixoto, amongst others.

The Public Hearing is a key part of the Brazilian environmental license process, necessary to obtain the Preliminary License (LP).  The aim of the event was to inform, clarify and encourage further community participation in project planning for the Municipal of Conceição do Araguaia where mining and mineral processing will occur.

The Araguaia Project is planned as a long life operation creating approximately 450 direct jobs in the operational phase of the mine.  The Company seeks to be a partner-of-choice with the local community in the development of the Project to ensure long-term sustainable benefits are received by local stakeholders.  Key socio-economic programmes planned for the region include initiatives for public health, environmental education, local government capacity building and economic development.  The economic development programme will focus on maximising local employment as well as the development of local suppliers and small regional enterprises.

As part of the permitting process, the Company has consulted with a large portion of the local community and other stakeholders in the past three months to ensure the Araguaia Project will have a net positive impact on the local communities delivering sustainable value over the long term.  Engagement and consultation was undertaken with local community leaders, elected local government ministers and elected state government ministers amongst other stakeholders to develop positive relationships with Horizonte as the Project progresses to the feasibility stage.

The Social and Environmental Impact Assessment of the area aims to identify, predict, interpret and inform society of the potential effects of activities on the health and well-being of the population as well as on ecosystems, so that the results are presented adequately to the public and environmental authorities, and then duly considered.  To assess these impacts, Horizonte, in partnership with specialist environment and social consultants undertook environmental and social baseline data collections.  The environmental baseline programme included information on climate, particulate matter, groundwater composition and depth, soils, surface water composition and flow, spring locations, and fauna and flora.  The social baseline data collection programme included information on regional demographics, stakeholders, livelihoods, community infrastructure, cultural heritage, natural resource use, labour and working conditions, vulnerable groups, land rights, regional medical and emergency services, public safety, traffic volume and archaeological sites.

About Horizonte Minerals:
Horizonte Minerals plc is an AIM and TSX-listed nickel development company focused in Brazil, which wholly owns the advanced Araguaia nickel laterite project located to the south of the Carajas mineral district of northern Brazil. 

The Company is developing Araguaia as the next major nickel mine in Brazil, with targeted production by late 2017 early 2018. 

The Project, which has excellent infrastructure in place including rail, road, water and power, has a current NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource of 71.98Mt grading 1.33% Ni (Indicated) and 25.4Mt at 1.21% Ni (Inferred) at a 0.95% nickel cut-off; included in Resources is a Probable Reserve base of 21.2Mt at 1.66%Ni.

A Pre-Feasibility Study has been completed which underpins the robust economics of developing a mine with a targeted 15,000tpa nickel in ferro-nickel output with a 20% Fe-Ni product over a 25 year mine life utilising the proven pyrometallurgical process of Rotary Kiln Electric Furnace technology.  At these production rates, the project has a post-tax NPV of US$519m at a discount rate of 8% and an IRR of 20%, with a capital cost of US$582m which puts this project in the lowest quartile of the cost curve.

Horizonte has a strong shareholder structure including Teck Resources Limited 38.5%, Henderson Global Investors 14%, Anglo Pacific Group 7%.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING INFORMATION

Except for statements of historical fact relating to the Company, certain information contained in this press release constitutes "forward-looking information" under Canadian securities legislation. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the potential of the Company's current or future property mineral projects; the success of exploration and mining activities; cost and timing of future exploration, production and development; the estimation of mineral resources and reserves and the ability of the Company to achieve its goals in respect of growing its mineral resources; and the realization of mineral resource and reserve estimates. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information is based on the reasonable assumptions, estimates, analysis and opinions of management made in light of its experience and its perception of trends, current conditions and expected developments, as well as other factors that management believes to be relevant and reasonable in the circumstances at the date that such statements are made, and are inherently subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to risks related to: exploration and mining risks, competition from competitors with greater capital; the Company's lack of experience with respect to development-stage mining operations; fluctuations in metal prices; uninsured risks; environmental and other regulatory requirements; exploration, mining and other licences; the Company's future payment obligations; potential disputes with respect to the Company's title to, and the area of, its mining concessions; the Company's dependence on its ability to obtain sufficient financing in the future; the Company's dependence on its relationships with third parties; the Company's joint ventures; the potential of currency fluctuations and political or economic instability  in countries in which the Company operates; currency exchange fluctuations; the Company's ability to manage its growth effectively; the trading market for the ordinary shares of the Company; uncertainty with respect to the Company's plans to continue to develop its operations and new projects; the Company's dependence on key personnel; possible conflicts of interest of directors and officers of the Company, and various risks associated with the legal and regulatory framework within which the Company operates.

Although management of the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.

SOURCE Horizonte Minerals plc

For further information: visit www.horizonteminerals.com or contact: Jeremy Martin, Horizonte Minerals plc, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7763 7157; David Hall, Horizonte Minerals plc, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7763 7157; Joanna Weaving, finnCap Ltd (Corporate Broking), Tel: +44 (0) 20 7220 0500; Matthew Robinson, finnCap Ltd (Corporate Finance), Tel: +44 (0) 20 7220 0500; Felicity Winkles, St Brides Partners Ltd (PR), Tel: +44 (0) 20 7236 1177; Lottie Brocklehurst, St Brides Partners Ltd, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7236 1177

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