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Battery metals developer Ardea Resources says it has successfully produced nickel and cobalt sulphate crystals that meet specifications of battery-makers.

Ardea shares (ASX:ARL) were steady at 54c in early Wednesday trade.

It’s a major step forward for Ardea’s flagship Goongarrie nickel and cobalt project near Kalgoorlie, as samples can now be evaluated by potential battery-maker clients and end-users.

“The pilot plant trial has demonstrated that a high-quality product can be produced from the ore at Goongarrie and this will be critical during our current search for a strategic partner and potential off-takers [sales partners],” Ardea executive Katina Law told investors.

“The samples we have produced will now be sent to interested parties for evaluation.”

The pilot plant testing forms part of the definitive feasibility study programs currently underway, following the release of the pre-feasibility study results in March.”

Miners undertake up to four different types of studies when examining the potential of a resource. These are scoping, preliminary feasibility (PFS), definitive feasibility (DFS) and bankable feasibility (BFS).

These determine whether or not a resource can be mined economically.

Battery-grade nickel sulphate crystals produced by Ardea Resources.
Battery-grade nickel sulphate crystals produced by Ardea Resources.

The PFS indicated that $US472 million Stage 1 development would produce 550 tonnes of cobalt a year and 41,500 tonnes of nickel – all battery grade.

Ardea was also looking at the production of “significant” by-product metals including scandium, alumina, vanadium, manganese, and rare earth elements.

Corporate advisory KPMG was hired by the company back in June to drive the search for a Goongarrie development partner.

The company said the process was advanced, “with the level of corporate, end user and off taker interest high”.

Ardea is well funded to continue studies at Goongarrie, holding $15.8 million in cash at the end of the September quarter.