- Horizonte Minerals posts a pre-tax loss of £956,174 for the six months to the end of June - down from £1.16m a year ago.

Revenue was nil - unchanged from a year ago but the group made a foreign exchange gain of £80,300 against a loss of £196,620 a year ago and administrative expenses fell to £385,028 from £415,968.

Chairman David Hall said: "In the last six months despite the very tough market conditions for the resource sector, the Company has delivered a number of significant milestones at Araguaia which we are developing as the next major nickel project in Brazil.

"We have been able to continue the critical aspect of permitting for the project, and in this respect we were delighted to receive the LP in June for the mining and beneficiation plant to produce ferronickel. This is a significant milestone which demonstrates the viability of Araguaia and represents the State Government approval for the planned project. The next stage is to advance the permitting process towards the award of the Installation Licence which allows construction to commence.

"The Pará State Government considers Araguaia to be a key economic driver for the southern part of the State with the potential to provide approximately 1,100 jobs in the construction phase, and around 500 jobs during the operational phase of the mine. We have also received strong community support for the project as evidenced in the 2015 Public Hearing in Conceição do Araguaia which received a high turnout at the meeting (+1,000 people) and the overriding support at the local and state level is a key factor for the future success of Araguaia.

"The award of the LP is timely as we are in the final stages of completing the new Pre-Feasibility Study based on the enlarged project combining Araguaia with the GAP project following our acquisition of the project from Glencore. The combination of the two projects creates one of the largest nickel saprolite resources globally. The PFS will include a revised Mineral Resource, data from the full scale metallurgical pilot plant campaign completed in Q3 2015, and updated capital and operating costs.

"It is our aim, with the completion of the PFS, to show that Horizonte owns a Tier 1 asset with robust economics even at the current low nickel prices with a proven process route for the commercial production of ferronickel. If we are able to deliver a project at the lower end of the cost curve combined with significant resource upside and optionality, we will be well positioned for the upturn in the nickel markets which are forecast to rise further over the coming years from the lows of early 2016."

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