PERTH (miningweekly.com) – A prefeasibility study (PFS) into the Mt Thirsty cobalt/nickel joint venture (JV), in Western Australia, has found that the project could support the production of 19 100 t/y of cobalt and 24 800 t/y of nickel as a mixed sulphide product over a mine life of 12 years.
The PFS estimated that the project would require a capital investment of A$371-million by JV partners Conico and Barra Resources, with all-in sustaining costs estimated at $35 400/t of contained cobalt.
The study was based on a maiden Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant probable reserve of 18.8-million tonnes, grading 0.13% cobalt and 0.54% nickel, and based on a throughput rate of 1.8-million tonnes a year.
“This study is the culmination of 18 months' work by the JV. I am confident that the PFS has been completed to a very high standard by global engineering houses that will stand up to the most detailed scrutiny from potential project partners,” said PFS manager Sean Gregory.
“We are now looking forward to engaging with these large global firms who are eager to secure a guaranteed sustainable source of cobalt for electric vehicle batteries.”
The JV partners are now re-engaging with several major Australian and international mining, trading and refining firms which have identified a PFS as their minimum investment criteria.