Australian Mines is completing pre-development work at the Sconi cobalt-nickel-scandium project in North Queensland, inching it closer to becoming a key supplier to the electric vehicle (EV) market.
This comes as the company completes its feasibility study and a further independent study of mineralisation targets within Sconi’s existing tenements.
The company has now pegged additional ground adjacent to the Sconi project to take advantage of the opportunity represented by these new nickel, cobalt and scandium targets.
The Queensland Government has granted the Sconi project with prescribed project status, which will help Australian Mines smoothly transition the site into a tier 1 project.
The government has also offered Australian Mines a conditional financial support package for Sconi, subject to the company executing an offtake agreement by September 2020.
Following the agreement, Australian Mines would also need to deliver and obtain approval for a project execution plan, make a final investment decision and contract an engineering, procurement and construction company for the project by December 31.
This would set Australian Mines on track to complete construction by July 30 2023 and employ at least 191 full-time workers in Queensland by the end of June 2024.
Australian Mines managing director Benjamin Bell said the company’s potential as a low cost and long-term supplier of battery minerals made it an attractive future partner to EV manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers.
“I am highly appreciative of the Queensland Government’s offer to broaden its ongoing support of the Sconi project,” Bell said.
“The company remains well positioned to take advantage of the expected increase in global demand for nickel and cobalt as they are essential commodities used by EV battery makers, auto manufacturers and in the storage and delivery of clean, sustainable energy sources.
“The board believes Australian Mines’ feasibility study demonstrates the company’s potential to be a leading supplier into the nickel and cobalt market.
“This is supported by the production of high purity, EV supply chain ready battery materials at the company’s demonstration-scale processing plant in Australia.”
The Sconi project is estimated to produce 1.4 million tonnes of nickel sulphate and 209,000 tones of cobalt sulphate over the project’s initial 30-year mine life.
This is sufficient product to produce 3 to 6 million electric vehicle battery packs.