NEW/EMERGING LEADER OF THE YEAR

MNN Awards: Spirit of Corps and his millions strongly backing NiCo

Low-profile MD running nickel-cobalt aspirant has been spending big buying shares

 Wingellina, WA

Wingellina, WA

Corps' NiCo CV says he has been involved in the finance industry for 30 years having worked as a stockbroker for Porter Western in Western Australia, and at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan in the UK.

And that's about it.

No other information on Corps is provided, and MNN was unable to meaningfully reach him for this profile.

Interestingly, while Corps was at a resource sector conference in Queensland last week, it was the company's general manager of operations, Fergus Kiley, that presented.

However, for shareholders of NiCo though, the key point is this.

Corps has spent somewhere in the order of A$10 million buying shares on-market in NiCo since it listed early this year.

Ten million!

Corps holds more than 10% of NiCo.

Corps would presumably argue it is a no-brainer.

As would many MDs when ‘jaw-boning' about their respective companies.

But MDs spending anything more than a bit of spare change buying shares in the companies they run are very much the exception.

Let alone circa $10 million.

Big, big tick.

So far as Wingellina is concerned, the project has over the years been studied to within an inch of its life.

Results of the latest study, notionally tagged a prefeasibility study, are expected within weeks.

The guts of the story is Wingellina is the largest undeveloped nickel-cobalt project in Australia, and pretty much said to be capable of producing about 40,000t per annum of nickel and 3000tpa of cobalt for as many decades as one cares to nominate.

So very large and in a so-called ‘tier one' jurisdiction.

And in a world where nickel and cobalt demand is flagged to go through the roof given the EV and green energy/energy storage revolution

Wingellina's big hurdle has been its capex given a developer is not going to get any change out of $3-4 billion.

Also dissuasive is the headline laterite nature of Wingellina given the luggage such projects carry in the Australian investment space.

Ironically though, NiCo claims "the mineralogy of the Wingellina ore is a major strength of the project as, unlike most Australian nickel laterite projects, it has characteristics perfectly suited to high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL)" processing.

Surely its time will come.

Rod Corps is a nominee for Emerging Leader of the Year in the 2022 MNN Awards.

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