Royal Nickel says making progress in hunt for a partner

TORONTO (Reuters) - Royal Nickel Corp RNX.TO said on Wednesday it has received non-binding proposals from several parties keen to partner with it on developing the Dumont nickel project in Quebec.

Toronto-based Royal Nickel announced in June that it was on the lookout for a partner to help fund the development of its flagship project. The company is looking to sell a stake of up to 40 percent in the project.

“We’ve had good response from pretty much everybody we’ve talked to so far, as far as interest in the project and interest in participating at that 40 percent level,” Royal Nickel Chief Executive Tyler Mitchelson said in an interview.

Dumont is expected to produce roughly 108 million pounds (49,000 metric tons) of nickel annually during its first 19 years of production. It could produce nearly 63 million pounds annually over the next 12 years.

“The people we have targeted so far in our partner process are mining or industry players, some of whom are producers and some of whom are traders,” said Mitchelson, adding talks are also on with sovereign wealth funds that are interested in investing in the project.

Royal Nickel, which is managed by a team of former Inco and Falconbridge executives, expects to complete a feasibility study on the project by mid-2013.

Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Peter Galloway