Queensland Pacific Metals Ltd (ASX:QPM) (FRA:4EA) has secured a $1 million research and development (R&D) loan facility with Metamor Capital Partners to accelerate its ongoing technical work programs.
The funds will go towards the TECH Project and start the definitive feasibility study (DFS).
Its pilot plant activities and other technical work are progressing well.
R&D loan facility
As in the previous financial year, QPM entered into the short term loan facility agreement with Metamor, which is based on QPM’s forecast return as part of the Federal Government’s Research and Development Tax Incentive.
In the financial year to date, the majority of QPM’s technical work expenditure for the TECH Project is deemed eligible expenditure under the Australian R&D Tax Incentive.
The key terms of the Metamor facility are:
- • $1 million facility, immediately drawn down;
- • Standard form cash loan with no conversion options;
- • Repayable by the earlier of the receipt of QPM’s tax return for the 30 June 2021 financial year or 15 November 2021;
- • Interest rate of 12.5%, a reduction from the previous loan from the last financial year;
- • Metamor can terminate in the event of default by QPM (breach of material provision, insolvency event or other materially adverse event occurring); and
- • Secured against the QPM’s assets.
Technical work program
QPM’s technical work program continues to progress well.
Under the leadership of ALS Global‘s team of engineers and metallurgists, pilot plant operation resumed on 24 January 2021.
Since then, the pilot plant has been operating and mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) production is underway.
Importantly, the process flowsheet continues to be validated.
The original plan was for a 10-day continuous run but this will be extended to allow for more product to be produced to meet sample demand requirements of potential off-takers and ensure there is sufficient product leftover for refining test work.
Results of pilot plant operation
The COVID-19 lockdown restrictions imposed in Perth have caused minimal disruption to the operation of the pilot plant.
QPM looks forward to providing the results of its pilot plant operation after completion of the run.
One of the key environmental benefits of the TECH Project is that there is no requirement for a tailings dam, which not only reduces capital and operating costs, but ensures the project’s environmental footprint is minimised.
After extraction of all valuable metals from the laterite ore, the remaining residue is inert material.
Piloting activities have generated residue that has been transported to James Cook University in Townsville, where an assessment of this residue will be made to see if it has the potential to be used for other commercial purposes such as engineered landfill.
Success will see the TECH Project have zero solid discharge, improving its sustainability credentials and attractiveness to off-takers.
Outside of piloting
QPM has been progressing opportunities, which further reduce capital and operating expenditure for the TECH Project.
Some of these options require test work for further evaluation during the DFS.
The Metamor loan facility will provide additional working capital that gives QPM the confidence to accelerate work relating to these options, so they can be evaluated without incurring delays.