|The most advanced project in the Company's portfolio, the Alpha Project is located in the central region of the island Province of Palawan approximately 660km southwest of the Philippine capital of Manila.
Drilling and exploration was conducted during the 1970's by Pacific Metals Company (Pamco) of Japan, Olympic Mining and Development Corp. and its affiliates, and in 2001 by BHP Billiton's Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd. of Australia. Evaluation of historic drill results and geological data on the Alpha property has allowed MBMI'S Philippine partners to identify primary drilling and excavation targets.
The Company's Philippine partners have been granted three Small Scale Mining Operating permits for the Alpha nickel property which allow for the extraction of up to 150,000 dry metric tonnes of nickel bearing material per year. All necessary permits have been granted in respect to the Small Scale Mining Operations and MBMI, through its Philippine partner Narra Nickel Development Corporation, is currently excavating, stockpiling and shipping mineralized nickel laterite material for sale to Asian consumers.
Construction and development of operational infrastructure commenced in April, 2007. An initial seven kilometre long road from the excavation site down to the stockyard area on the coast was completed in July, 2007, and an area greater than forty hectares in size was prepared adjacent to the completed port facility to allow for the sorting, drying and stockpiling of nickel material. An extension to the coastal port causeway added a 265 metre pier complete with a thirty metre turnaround to accommodate the simultaneous loading of up to three large material handling barges. The Alpha compound also includes an operations base with administration office complex, sample preparation and assay laboratory, screening and crushing facilities as well as a nursery for Environmental Impact Assessment rehabilitation purposes.
To date, the Company has shipped and sold nickel material at an average grade of 1.85% nickel to Asian consumers. Additional nickel bearing material has been excavated from the Alpha property and is currently being dried and sorted at the coastal Stockyard. In April, 2009 the Company received and filed a National Instrument 43-101 (NI 43-101) resource estimate for the property.
In June of 2010 the Company announced the approval of a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with the Philippine Government which allows large-scale exploration, development and utilization of minerals on the property for a term of 25 years (renewable for additional 25 years).
On April 19, 2011, the Company announced that it had been notified that the Office of the President of the Philippines has issued a decision cancelling the FTAA.
The Company on advice of its legal counsel believes that the decision is not in accordance with legal actions of a similar nature previously settled by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. MBMI will vigorously fight this Decision and defend the Company's affiliate's legally issued FTAAs. The company has commenced curtailment of non-essential activities and will continue activities that conform to Philippine Law while defending its rights and legally issued permits.