Queensland Pacific Metals
Queensland Pacific Metals, WA (acquiring 100%)
Nickel sulphate, Cobalt sulphate, Hematite, Alumina, Magnesium
Pure Minerals is currently completing the acquisition of 100% of the outstanding share capital of Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM)
QPM has completed a scoping study which confirmed the potential of a modern battery materials refinery in Townsville. The scoping study was based on a 600,000tpa plant that would produce:
- 25,000tpa nickel sulphate
- 3,000tpa cobalt sulphate
- 221,000tpa hematite
- 8,700 tpa alumina
- 4,600tpa magnesium oxide
Feed source for the plant has been secured under an ore supply arrangement with Société des Mines de la Tontouta (SMT) and Société Miniere Georges Montagnat S.A.R.L. (SMGM). SMT and SMGM are well established mining companies with a long term history of supplying ore to Townsville and other operations around the world. The expected grade of ore to be supplied to QPM is 1.6% Ni / 0.17% Co.
QPM plants to construct the battery metals refinery in Townsville. Townsville is considered an ideal location for a number of reasons including:
- Excellent supporting infrastructure including port facilities
- Acid supply
- Skilled labour and engineering services
- Long term history of importing ore from New Caledonia
Processing – Stage 1 DNi Process
QPM has an agreement with Direct Nickel Projects Pty Ltd to utilise the DNi Process, a modern processing technology that utilises nitric acid to digest, at atmospheric pressure, a range of minerals found in lateritic ores.
The process begins with material being crushed to around 1-2mm before being conveyed to leaching tanks where it remains for approximately four hours at 110°C before separating out anything not dissolved by nitric acid. The next series of tanks removes iron from the solution as haematite. In the next step the addition of magnesium oxide (MgO) to the solution precipitates an aluminium product which is filtered out. The next step sees the addition of further magnesium oxide to the solution which results in a mixed hydroxide product containing 35-45% nickel and approximately 1-2% cobalt by weight. Spent solution is converted into MgO and nitric oxide gas, with most of the MgO becoming a saleable product. The nitric oxide gas is converted to nitric acid and returned to the first leaching tank for reuse.
Processing – Stage 2 CSIRO Process
The primary product output of the DNi ProcessTM is a nickel-cobalt MHP, which is a commonly traded product. The emergence of the battery market has increased demand for nickel and cobalt sulphate. Therefore there is economic rationale for MHP producers to upgrade this intermediate product to a product that is suitable for battery manufacturers.
Starting with MHP from the DNi ProcessTM, the CSIRO process will employ selective dissolution to create a nickel and cobalt-rich liquor. This liquor is then subjected to solvent extraction to separate the nickel and the cobalt and remove impurity elements. Further purification and crystallisation is then utilised to produce the final nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate products.
Key outputs of the Scoping Study