NiWest Nickel-Cobalt Project marching ahead as GME buddies up with Ausenco
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GME is picking up the pace for the development of its NiWest nickel-cobalt project by reaching a partnership with leading engineering firm Ausenco.
Ausenco has significant recent experience with nickel laterite project developments and direct involvement with the operation of a nickel laterite heap leach project – exactly what GME is planning for NiWest. This makes the partnership particularly suited to deliver the process and non-process infrastructure engineering for the NiWest Definitive Feasibility Study.
GME Resources’ (ASX:GME) NiWest DFS team is itself close to being formalised and will formally commence work this month with completion targeted for late 2023.
“Ausenco is one of the world’s most highly capable engineering firms servicing the resource sector and we are delighted to be taking NiWest forward in partnership with their team,” managing director Paul Kopejtka said.
“Following the successful updated pre-feasibility study, we are now rounding out an expert group of top tier consultants to capture the opportunities we believe exist to materially lower the NiWest capital costs and deliver a world-class battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate operation.”
Ausenco managing director Zimi Meka added that the engineering firm was excited to form the partnership with GME as projects like NiWest can apply proven technology coupled with cutting edge innovation to deliver the cost efficient, sustainably produced commodities required to support global decarbonisation and the energy transition.
The Ausenco partnership follows hot on the heels of GME reaching a non-binding offtake memorandum of understanding with top tier automaker Stellantis, which counts the Opel, Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat and Chrysler brands amongst others under its umbrella, in October. Stellantis is seeking to sure up its future supply of battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate products and has identified NiWest as a high-quality source.
NiWest is an advanced nickel-cobalt development project near Leonora, WA, with one of the highest-grade undeveloped nickel laterite resources in Australia with an Ore Reserve of 64.9Mt at 0.91% nickel and 0.06% cobalt within a broader Resource of 85.2Mt at 1.03% nickel and 0.065% cobalt.
This is enough to fuel a 27 year mine life – with production of about 90,000 tonnes per annum of battery grade nickel and cobalt sulphate products for the growing EV market, under the Pre-Feasibility Study that was updated in July.
The PFS also confirmed the technical and financial merits of the development of a stand-alone processing facility to treat the NiWest deposits.
Post-tax net present value and internal rate of return – both measures of a project’s profitability – were estimated at $2.1bn and 23% using an assumed nickel price of US$11 per pound and cobalt price of US$35/lb.
Processing involves two-stage crushing followed by commercially proven, lower-risk, lower-capital intensity heap leaching, coupled with highly efficient Direct Solvent Extraction – a process route that the company has tested over many years.
This article was developed in collaboration with GME Resources, 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.