NickelSearch’s goal of becoming a supplier to the growing battery sector has received a boost after its downstream partner made some serious funding progress.

Partner, Alpha Fine Chemicals, which plans to build a Nickel Sulphate plant with targeted production of 40,000tpa in Thailand, is progressing a US$100m funding package from a consortium of globally significant investors, including Germany’s KfW-IPEX Bank, Traxys Group, CIGP and a ‘Tier 1 miner’.

Its production of high purity nickel sulphate crystals is expected to find ready buyers given the record number of new battery mega-factories being announced.

Under their agreement, AFC has the first right to purchase potential intermediate mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) produced from NickelSearch’s (ASX:NIS) flagship Carlingup nickel sulphide project in Western Australia on standard contract terms.

This deal integrates the company’s project into the lithium-ion battery supply chain.

“The automotive industry is paying close attention to the environmental and social integrity of the raw material supply chain,” managing director Nicole Duncan said.

“The combination of NIS’s proposed bioleaching for Carlingup ores together with AFC’s CMN Processing Technology is intended to facilitate delivery of nickel sulphate into the lithium-ion battery market with one of the smallest environmental footprints.”


CMN process

AFC’s proprietary CMN Process technology allows for the sustainable processing of various intermediate nickel products into high-quality nickel sulphate.

Potential feedstock includes ‘Black Mass’ from the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and MHP from Carlingup. Other feed options are also being explored.

The process uses magnesia rather than caustic soda or ammonia, which makes it cheaper, safer and easier to manage any waste products.

It also operates at relatively low temperatures and ambient pressure while generating no toxic gasses with low Scope 1 emissions of about 0.72kg of CO2 per kilogram of nickel sulphate compared to 1.89kg CO2/kg of nickel sulphate for comparable refining processes.


Carlingup project

NickelSearch’s Carlingup nickel project consists of eight mining licences and seven exploration licences covering an area of 108sqkm over a 15km strike of the highly prospective and proven Ravensthorpe Greenstone Belt.

Recent analysis of helicopter-borne electromagnetic and magnetic surveying has identified 13 EM targets along the Carlingup Trend that hosts the RAV-1, RAV-4, RAV-4 West and RAV-8 nickel sulphide deposits and a further 16 EM targets along the underexplored Ravensthorpe Range Trend.

Diamond and follow-up reverse circulation drilling is also underway to define resources, extend mineralisation and secure samples for metallurgical test work.


This article was developed in collaboration with NickelSearch, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.