Battery-metals miner Eurobattery Minerals has signed an investment and shareholders agreement including an option for a staged acquisition of 100% of the shares in Vulcan Hautalampi (VHOy), which owns the Hautalampi nickel/cobalt/copper project, in eastern Finland.
The acquisition includes 280 ha of mining concession, about 94% of the mining lease area.
The option under the investment and shareholders agreement is linked to an obligation to provide successive cash financing for investments in the Hautalampi project.
Eurobattery will pay about €8.6-million over 48 months for the VHOy shares and the option premium, as well as the cash financing component.
The Hautalampi project is located at the same site as the Keretti (Outokumpu) copper mine, which operated during 1912 to 1989. The Hautalampi nickel/cobalt/copper orebody is located parallel to, and above, the exploited copper deposit. Existing surface and underground infrastructure provide significant location advantages in what is already a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction.
The mineral deposit contains nickel and cobalt sulphide minerals and copper sulphide minerals with gold and silver by-products. Processing methods have been investigated and high-value concentrates have been produced. Further process test work by Outotec has demonstrated that a combined nickel/cobalt concentrate can be leached and chemicals suitable for battery industry can be produced.
Thus far, about €10-million to €15-million is estimated to have been invested on the Hautalampi project by the previous owner, including 22 000 m of core drilling, a decline and additional underground mine development works, mineral resource and reserve estimations, multiple mineral processing studies and a feasibility study. This previous investment enables Eurobattery to fast-track the project to an updated feasibility study status.
The Hautalampi project also presents a lower risk, compared to an exploration project, as the orebody has already been defined by previous owners.
Existing decline and additional underground development totalling 2 100 m has also been completed by previous owners.
The underground mining permit is also in place.
In addition, much of the critical infrastructure is still in place, such as the high voltage power line, concrete foundations for the process plant, roads and the town itself (population 7 700).
The Hautalampi project has an historical National Instrument 43-101-compliant mineral resource estimate of 3.2-million tonnes at a grade of 0.43% nickel, 0.35% copper and 0.12% cobalt.
Eurobattery CEO Roberto Martínez says the acquisition is an important milestone for the company as it accelerates its strategy and shortens the time to the company becoming producers. “As the foundation of the battery value chain we are committed to provide ethically produced and traceable battery minerals from Europe critical for the rapidly growing electric vehicle industry.”