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WA pCAM project misses out on A$119m gov funding

26th May 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Poseidon Nickel on Friday reported that negotiations between its partner Pure Battery Technologies (PBT) and the Department of Industry, Science and Resources over a conditional A$119.6-million grant under the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) had failed.

PBT was last year tapped as the recipient of a A$119.6-million grant for its A$399-million Western Australian precursor Cathode Active Material (pCAM) hub, in partnership with Poseidon Nickel, where it was planning to build an integrated nickel manganese cobalt battery material refinery hub in the Kalgoorlie region.

The hub will be established in Kalgoorlie and will initially produce 50 000 t/y of pCAM, enough to produce up to one-million lithium-ion electric vehicle batteries, and will result in 380 construction jobs and 175 initial permanent jobs from 2023.

The project was due to start production in 2025.

Poseidon on Friday told shareholders that PBT had been negotiating the terms of the conditional grant with the government, and that for "various reasons", the Department of Industry, Science and Resources had decided to discontinue further negotiations with the company in respect of the grant.

Poseidon said that while it was an "understandably disappointing" outcome for PBT and the critical minerals industry in Western Australia generally, the decision by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources was of minimal impact to Poseidon given that PBT and its proposed Kalgoorlie pCAM project were one of a number of parties that Poseidon have been considering as potential offtakers for the Black Swan expansion project, some of which have existing HPAL projects in Western Australia.

Furthermore, the miner noted that none of the grant monies were ever intended for, or allocated to Poseidon or the Black Swan restart and that the likely timing of development of the Kalgoorlie pCAM project would not align with Poseidon’s intended timing for the Black Swan restart, subject to final investment decision being made.

Additionally, Poseidon stated that the company was well advanced on finalising offtake and debt financing for the Black Swan smelter grade project with other parties.

“PBT has advised us they are proceeding with the bankable feasibility study for the Kalgoorlie pCAM project and we intend to continue to provide support to PBT in terms of ore and concentrate samples for metallurgical testwork,” Poseidon said.

PBT on Friday confirmed that negotiations had ceased, saying there had been a "misalignment" between project partner and government timelines.

“We are obviously disappointed, but we are continuing with our project - just potentially at a slower rate than we were. We still believe there is a future for this type of investment in the Australian market. However, it is disappointing to see a stalling of the support for the industry from the Australian government," said PBT chairperson Stephen Wilmot.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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