Mirabela commissioning begins at Santa Rita



PERTH, Australia, Oct. 9 /CNW/ - Mirabela Nickel Limited (TSX: MNB, ASX: MBN) is pleased to announce that commissioning has begun at its Santa Rita nickel sulphide mine in Brazil.

An Operating License has been awarded for the mine by the environmental authorities, which reflects practical completion of the project. All environmental and operating licenses have now been awarded for the 6.4Mtpa production capacity.

The primary crusher was run for several hours and about 1000 tonnes of crushed ore was conveyed and stockpiled at the mill feed tunnel stockpile. Commissioning of the SAG and ball mills is expected to start shortly.

All substations for the operation have been commissioned and are fully energised. Power is supplied at 230KV from the national power grid only 7km away.

Details of the project status are as follows:

    -   Stockpiled ore now totals about 245,000 tonnes
    -   Mining capacity on site is currently about 25,000 tonnes of rock per
    -   The second mining fleet delivery is expected by the end of October,
        increasing capacity to about 60,000 tonnes of rock per day
    -   Additional equipment arrivals during November and December will
        increase mining capacity to 100,000 tonnes of rock per day by year
    -   Commissioning of the primary crusher and conveyors is under way
    -   The SAG and ball mills are aligned on their bearings. Installation of
        ring gears and drive mechanisms has been completed and the liner
        installation is underway, so commissioning of the mills is expected
        to start shortly.
    -   Flotation cells, thickeners, blowers, reagent plant, air, water,
        analysers and automated control systems are all pre-commissioned and
        ready for full commissioning under load
    -   The Larox filter is ready for full commissioning under load
    -   A laboratory facility for assays and bench float test work is now
        operational and being used for grade control.
    -   The tailings dam is complete
    -   The operating team has been running the plant on a continuous 24 hour
        basis since mid-September on wet load (without the mills) in order to
        check systems and ensure smooth handover from the construction team
        to the operation team upon completion of commissioning.
    -   Maintenance facilities for the mining fleet are expected to be fully
        operational by end of October.

Ramp-up to full operating capacity of 6.4Mtpa is anticipated to take about one year with installation of a second ball mill planned for Q1 2010. The foundations and infrastructure for the second ball mill have already been built.

At full production, Santa Rita is expected to produce 26,000 tonnes of nickel in concentrate a year.

A new website will be launched shortly to reflect the Company's status as a fledgling producer.

    For and on behalf of the Board

    Nick Poll                         Craig Burton
    Managing Director                 Corporate Director


Mirabela Nickel Ltd owns 100% of the world class Santa Rita nickel sulphide project and is listed on the Australian and Toronto stock exchanges. With a JORC/NI 43.101 Indicated open-cut resource of 130mt grading 0.60% Ni for 780,000t of contained Ni, Santa Rita is the largest nickel sulphide discovery worldwide in over a decade.

Construction of Santa Rita is now complete and commissioning is underway. The operation is expected to ramp-up to the full name-plate capacity of 6.4Mtpa of ore producing 26,000tpa of nickel in concentrate by September 2010. Current reserves support a mine life of at least 19 years.

SOURCE Mirabela Nickel Ltd.

For further information: For further information: Australia contact: Nick Poll, Managing Director, Telephone: +61 8 9324 1177, nickp@mirabela.com.au; Australia contact (media): Warrick Hazeldine, Purple Communications, Telephone: +61 8 9485 1254, whazeldine@purple.com.au; UK and Europe contact: Alex Buck, Buckbias, Telephone: +44 (7932) 740 452, alex@buckbias.com

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