Pure Minerals Limited (ASX:PM1) has received positive scoping study results demonstrating the potential for a proposed battery metals refinery in Townsville, north Queensland.
The study was completed by Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM), a privately-owned entity which Pure Minerals has secured an option to acquire.
The study was based on annual throughput of 600,000 wet tonnes to produce around 25,400 tonnes of nickel sulphate hexahydrate and 3,000 tonnes of cobalt sulphate heptahydrate.
Ore from New Caledonia
This would represent about 5,670 tonnes of contained nickel and 630 tonnes of contained cobalt with high-grade ore sourced from New Caledonia.
Other valuable products which would be produced include hematite, alumina and magnesium oxide at annual rates of around 221,000 tonnes, 8,700 tonnes and 4,600 tonnes respectively.
The study revealed a total capital cost of US$297 million, which includes a contingency of US$65 million.
“Economics can be improved further”
QPM director John Downie said: “We are confident that project economics can be improved further, especially in the area of transport, processing, power and energy costs.”
He said this would come from optimising the flowsheet, utilising heat recovery and investigating other co-products not considered in the study including pig iron, high purity alumina and scandium.
Market project to offtakers
Pure Minerals chairman Eddie King said: “I am very excited with the results of QPM’s scoping study which highlight potentially significant value for PM1 shareholders.
“Combining this study with the recent appointment of Top Resources Group, the team can now begin to market the project’s investment metrics to potential offtake parties and strategic parties.”
Key findings of the study are:
Townsville is a region that is well supported by existing infrastructure;
Townsville has direct access to consumables required to operate the refinery as well as skilled labour;
The project can be constructed using readily available industrial materials using the Direct Nickel Process, minimising lead times and capital;
The product suite that can be produced has a positive market outlook and adds diversity to the refinery’s revenue stream, reducing exposure to any single commodity price; and
The study identified other potential opportunities to improve project economics that should be investigated in future feasibility studies.
- Jessica Cummins