Monsters of Rock: Robert Friedland’s Aussie nickel play gets Fed backing, Cyprium faces delays at Nifty
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Robert Friedland’s Aussie nickel play Sunrise Energy Metals (ASX:SRL) has received the backing of the Federal government for its namesake nickel-cobalt-scandium mine.
The Ivanhoe Mines chairman and co-chair of Sunrise has been involved since its early days as an emerging battery metals play under the guise of Clean Teq.
Its primary asset is the Sunrise project in New South Wales, where the company says the 50 year-long business would produce 21,300t of nickel and 4400t of cobalt a year, operating 100% on renewable energy.
According to Sunrise’s figures the project would generate US$16.3 billion in life of mine revenue and US$10.8 billion in EBITDA and an NPV of US$1.2 billion.
The project is “construction ready” but Sunrise had an offtake deal with Beijing Easpring terminated earlier this year as it looks to arrange a financing package for the project. It had $33 million cash in the bank as of September 30, ASX filings show.
While it has failed to get the traction of other battery metals plays in recent times, announcement of major project status from the Federal Government and energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor will be a shot in the arm for the proposed mine.
“We are grateful to the Australian Government and its agencies for the award of Major Project Status to the Sunrise Project,” Sunrise CEO Sam Riggall said.
“It confirms the government’s on-going commitment to Australia’s critical minerals sector, most recently recognised in the establishment of the A$2 billion Critical Minerals Facility.
“As national and state policies evolve to support Australia’s critical minerals sector, large, long-life and low-cost assets like Sunrise will be key to building reliable and sustainable regional supply chains.”
Copper hopeful Cyprium Metals (ASX:CYM) copped a whack from shareholders today after revealing delays in its plans to revive the Nifty copper mine.
Prices for the red metal are hovering just shy of record levels, with Cyprium picking an opportune time to pick up the assets in WA’s north from the struggling Metals X (ASX:MLX) in February.
But news of delays to its development schedule dampened the mood, with the company’s shares falling 14.7% to 14.5c, close to a 52-week low.
Having previously planned copper metal production for the first half of 2023, Cyprium boss Barry Cahill pushed back that key date to the second half of 2023, with construction expected to start in September 2022 after the receipt of approvals.
The company said its first government approval document has been lodged.
“Despite our best efforts and the exceptional progress that we have made in 8 months, there are pressures being felt throughout the mining industry. These additional pressures are primarily due to labour shortages, increasing costs, COVID related impacts and long timelines that have impacted on our original projections,” Cyprium managing director Barry Cahill said.
“These same factors are also impacting on processing times for regulatory approvals. Consequently, we have been forced to reschedule our forecast project timelines, with the commencement of new construction activities now expected in September 2022, following regulatory approvals.
“Copper metal production at Nifty will now commence by the second half of 2023. As usual for our team, we will aim to commence copper production at the earliest opportunity.”
Cyprium is not the first miner to cite delays as covid-free WA continues to hold the line on its tough border stance with the east.
Developments in WA have been hit hard by increasing approval timelines and rising costs related to Covid-19, labour shortages, supply chains and general inflation.
Bardoc Gold (ASX:BDC) for instance halted plans to make a final investment decision on its Kalgoorlie gold project of the same name a couple months ago after citing inflationary pressures and a potential cost blowout if it had gone ahead with the mine.
On the markets today gold stocks led the way among the big boys as the large miners largely stuttered, with materials falling 0.36%.