Australian Mines is confident that its Sconi cobalt-nickel-scandium project will put it at the forefront of the battery minerals industry.
In the 2019 financial year, Australian Mines met several key targets, including production of battery chemicals from Sconi’s ore, successful operation of the demonstration processing plant, a revised 30-plus year mine plan and delivering a bankable feasibility study.
Australian Mines believes it will be able to take advantage of the global demand for nickel and cobalt for electric vehicle battery manufacturers due to its profile as a potential low-cost long-term supplier.
Managing director and chief executive officer Benjamin Bell backed the company to become a leading supplier to the nickel and cobalt market.
“By using industry standard technology that builds on the knowledge gained through the construction and operation of high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) plants, Australian Mines is well-positioned to be a leading supplier into this market,” Bell said.
“As estimated by Global Mining Research, more than 60 per cent of the world’s annual nickel supply comes from laterite nickel projects like our flagship Sconi project in north Queensland.
“This heavy reliance by the global nickel market on laterite projects is estimated to have grown from approximately 40 per cent ten years ago, with the trend expected to continue.”
The bankable feasibility study estimated that Sconi will deliver $5 billion in free cash flow in its first 30 years and an expected total revenue of $13.27 billion.
In 2020, the company will focus on further development on the project, including pre-construction work on shared-used infrastructure and further investments in local north Queensland communities.
No further runs of the demonstration processing plant are scheduled for next year, unless a future offtake party requests additional samples, the company added.