UPDATE 2.30pm: Kambalda nickel miner Mincor Resources has extended the mine life of its flagship Mariners and Miitel operations until at least 2017.
Mincor, which last week posted a $1.8 million profit a year after registering a $22.5 million loss, has added 12,000 tonnes of nickel to its ore reserves.
Miitel replaced 123 per cent of the nickel metal it mined last financial year, while Mariners replaced 128 per cent of its production.
The company's reserves now stand at 23,000 tonnes - up from 21,300 tonnes at June 30, 2013 - after mining 10,219 tonnes of contained nickel last financial year.
The increase was the result of a major drilling campaign launched in April while Mincor has committed another $10 million for exploration this financial year.
One of the most promising targets is the Voyce prospect just south of Mariners, where Mincor announced drill hits of 5.6m at 6.13 per cent nickel in July.
Mincor's managing director David Moore said the company's decision to ramp up its exploration expenditure seven months ago, amid the challenging nickel price environment, had proven to be a good one.
Nickel has ranged between a low of $US6.41 a pound and high of $US9.48/lb since February and was trading at $US8.41/lb yesterday, according to Kitco data.
"This has already delivered a substantial increase in both reserves and resources, and led to the discovery of high-grade nickel at the exciting Voyce prospect," Mr Moore said.
"This is a great return for our shareholders in a relatively short space of time.
"But we are only just getting started and we expect to be drilling non-stop throughout the year.
"We are convinced there are more high-grade ore bodies out there waiting to be discovered and, with our dominant position in the Kambalda district, we are uniquely well-placed to deliver results from this world-class nickel province."
Patersons Securities senior resources analyst Simon Tonkin said Mincor "appears to have turned the corner" in building a stronger reserve and resource base.
He expects the increase will have a positive impact on Mincor stock, targeting a price of 94 cents a share.
Mincor shares were steady at 78.5 cents at the close.