Australian Mines outlines Sconi satellite plans

AUSTRALIAN Mines’ Queensland cobalt-nickel projects now exceed 115 million tonnes, with new resources for its Bell Creek and Minnamoolka projects boosting its holdings for a total tonnage of 738, 359t nickel and 71,757t cobalt.
Australian Mines outlines Sconi satellite plans Australian Mines outlines Sconi satellite plans Australian Mines outlines Sconi satellite plans Australian Mines outlines Sconi satellite plans Australian Mines outlines Sconi satellite plans

Deposits within trucking distance could support Sconi's production plans.

Haydn Black

Reporter

While the majority of resources are spoken for at the Greenvale, Lucknow and Kokomo deposits that comprise the 5.7Mt Sconi resource, Bell Creek's now adds 25.8Mt at 0.72% nickel and 0.04% cobalt, while Minnamoolka is estimated at 14.7Mt at 0.66% nickel and 0.03% cobalt.
 
The deposits were acquired for no consideration as part of the $10 million cash and share transaction for Sconi with Metallica Minerals in 2017 and are 115km north of the planned 2Mtpa Sconi processing plant.
 
Bell Creek already has a granted mining lease, and the company sees that both Bell Creek and Minnamoolka can be developed in parallel, helping boost the economics of the Sconi project and lift production.
 
In 2009, Metallica's incomplete bankable feasibility study on Bell Creek found it could support 1.5Mtpa heap leach operation to produce a mixed nickel and cobalt hydroxide precipitate using a solvent extraction processing route, but AUZ is considering on-site beneficiation plant capable of procuring a concentrated feed for potential trucking to Sconi.
 
The company is pushing towards a final investment decision on Sconi.
 
A bankable study was completed last year, and concluded that it should be one of the lowest cost nickel-cobalt laterite producers in the world.
 
Sconi aims to produce an average 8500t per annum of cobalt, 53,500tpa of nickel sulphate and 77tpa of scandium for use in battery manufacturing, electric vehicles and similar high technology applications, and satellite operations could substantially improve the economics.
 
The company is seeking to complete an offtake contract with Korean-based SK Innovation for the sale and purchase of battery-grade cobalt sulphate and nickel sulphate, and source finance for its development, which comes with a hefty $1.3 billion pricetag. 
 
Average annual earnings have been put at $295 million per annum.
 
The company raised $5 million in February at 2.9c, and was last traded at 2.4c, capitalising the company at $72 million. Its shares had been 10c last June, but have since tested lows of 2.2c.