Australian Mines will export 40kg of battery-grade nickel sulphate and 4kg of battery-grade cobalt sulphate to Korean off-take partner SK Innovation, setting a record for the largest known shipment of such ores mined and processed in Australia.
The samples — produced at a demonstration plant in association with processing company Simulus Group — has exceeded SK Innovation’s required specifications, returning figures above 98 per cent purity for the cobalt and above 99 per cent for the nickel.
The partnership with Simulus produced another first for an Australian mining company as the samples were produced for the first time without the use of a third-party commercial lab.
SK Innovations intends to use Australian Mines’ material for the production of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The company will take up to 12,000t of cobalt sulphate and 60,000t of nickel sulphate per year from Australian Mines’ Sconi cobalt-nickel-scandium project for an initial seven-year term through an exclusivity arrangement, with the possibility of a further six-year extension.
Benjamin Bell, managing director of Australian Mines, said the company achieved significant firsts with the delivery of the samples by exceeding expectations and producing the largest bulk sample export of its type produced in Australia.
“This is a very important step in the optimisation process for our bankable feasibility study on the Sconi project,” he said, “and will also assist in the further advancement of project financing negotiations for the construction of the full-size processing plant in Queensland, which will use a replica processing flow-sheet to the demonstration plant.”