Pure Minerals Limited (ASX:PM1) has secured a $2.55 million grant via its wholly-owned subsidiary Queensland Pacific Metals Pty Ltd (QPM) for the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) Project.
QPM and project partners Direct Nickel Projects Pty Ltd (DNi) and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) successfully applied for the Federal Government grant.
This application was made under the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) program and funds will be used to develop QPM’s TECH Project in northern Queensland.
The TECH Project will process imported, high-grade nickel-cobalt laterite ore from New Caledonia to produce nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate and other valuable co-products.
“Recognition of project’s potential”
PM1 managing director John Downie said: “The receipt of the CRC-P grant is strong recognition of the TECH Project and its potential, and we welcome the support of the Australian Federal Government and our partners.
“The TECH Project clearly aligns with the government’s focus on developing Australia’s critical metals industry.
“With the production of nickel sulphate, cobalt sulphate and high purity alumina, the TECH Project could become a ‘one-stop shop’ for battery manufacturers to source the chemicals they require.
“The award of this grant is a significant milestone for PM1 and QPM, contributing a significant portion of our future funding requirements and adding value for our shareholders.”
QPM has already started pilot plant activities with a site secured 40 kilometres south of Townsville
The TECH Project has been designed to operate for a minimum of 30 years, which is common for hydrometallurgical plants.
Funding and development
In addition to the $2.55 million grant as part of CRC-P round 8, QPM’s partners DNi and CSIRO will contribute $1.6 million of in-kind funding, taking the total to $4.15 million for development of the project.
The funding will be put towards ongoing feasibility work for the TECH Project including operation of the CSIRO/DNi pilot plant to process bulk samples of representative nickel cobalt laterite ore from New Caledonia supply partners to produce significant quantities of mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) for use in the downstream refinery.
Additional work includes:
- Construction and operation of a sulphate pilot plant to refine MHP to produce battery grade nickel and cobalt sulphate;
- Product acceptance test work of nickel and cobalt sulphate for suitability for battery manufacturers;
- Ongoing flowsheet validation for the DNi Process™ and sulphate process; and
- Production of quantities of magnesium oxide, hematite, aluminium hydroxide and process residue for validation of downstream value-add flowsheets and technical applications.