The first continuous pilot plant run began recently with representative ore sourced from New Caledonian ore supply partners being fed into the plant.
This culminated in the first batch of MHP being produced from the pilot plant earlier this month, representing an important milestone for QPM, formerly known as Pure Minerals Ltd.
DNi Process flowsheet demonstrated
Importantly, it demonstrates the company’s DNi ProcessTM flowsheet on New Caledonian ore.
QPM chief executive officer Stephen Grocott said: “I would like to thank all parties involved who have worked tirelessly on the pilot plant including ALS Global, Altilium Group, CSIRO, Hatch and our owner’s team.
"There remains plenty of work to do but the production of first MHP from New Caledonian ore is a satisfying achievement for the company.”
Throughout the current quarter, the pilot plant has been constructed and commissioned.
QPM’s MD John Downie (left) and CEO Dr Stephen Grocott with first MHP.
Potential offtakers for the TECH Project are most interested in this part of the flowsheet, as the process of converting MHP into nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate is well understood and established at commercial scale.
Edify solar agreement
The company also this month entered into a Heads of Agreement (HoA) with Edify Energy Pty Ltd to mutually support the development of each parties’ respective project.
QPM hopes that the HoA will ultimately result in a power purchase agreement (PPA) under competitive network and electricity tariff conditions.
Edify is developing a utility-scale solar and battery power station and associated network assets that will be able to supply electricity to the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct in Townsville in which the TECH Project will be situated.
Edify is a market-leading, Australian renewable energy and storage company with a diverse and rapidly expanding portfolio of assets.
It has delivered in the order of $1.5 billion of investment to create large-scale sustainable energy and storage infrastructure.
The sustainability credentials of raw material supply is a key consideration of leading western companies who use batteries in their products.
QPM is already positioning the TECH Project to have the best sustainability credentials of nickel and cobalt projects, with a flowsheet that is zero liquids discharge and potentially zero solids discharge.
By utilising solar power, these sustainability credentials will be further strengthened.
Edify CEO and founder John Cole said: ”Combining the latest in renewable energy generation and storage technology with sustainable and advanced techniques in battery metals processing is an exciting venture for Edify.
"We look forward to working with the QPM team to supply the TECH Project with clean energy from the Majors Creek Solar Power Station.”
QPM's Grocott said: “QPM working with Edify, will help facilitate the supply of electricity from the solar generation and network assets to our TECH Project, as part of a broader supply to the Lansdown Industrial Precinct.
"This will further reduce the already low greenhouse gas intensity of battery chemical production from the TECH project, a characteristic that is becoming increasingly important in attracting battery feedstock project funding.”