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The start-up capex of Ardea Resources’ Goongarrie project could extend to $1.3 billion if the company adopted outcomes of an expansion study.

The study revealed the project could manage a 2.25 million tonnes per annum, 25-year mine life, compared to the initial 1.5 million tonnes per annum base case over 10 years.

Goongarrie, part of the broader Kalgoorlie Nickel Project, had an initial base case mine start-up capex of US$588 million ($867 million).

Speaking at the Paydirt 2019 Australian Nickel Conference, Ardea Chief Executive Officer Andrew Penkethman said strategic partner interest in the company’s Goongarrie project was high.

He said it was being driven partly by rising urgency to acquire a secure and long-term ethical supply of battery-grade nickel and cobalt, with the project providing this.

“The full 100 per cent of the project’s potential offtake is currently available and attracting the early market interest.

“Both the KNP and Goongarrie are world-class and the largest in Australia and the more recent studies are pointing to the potential for multiple processing hubs and multi-decade mine life.

“The satellite KNP projects also provide potential satellite high grade feed options for a Goongarrie plant or additional processing hubs within our footprint.

“Strategically, Goongarrie is a low technical risk project for the growing battery markets. For the potential partners looking over the numbers, they are buoyed by the fact the expanded mining case of 2.25 million tonnes per annum is based on only 26 per cent of Goongarrie’s resource, so considerable upside.

“This is an emerging project which will evolve as an Australian source for international battery metals as it removes supply line concerns.

“Goongarrie whichever way you look at it, offers an ethical, secure, long-life source of nickel and cobalt and that is what equity markets and social pressures are demanding. 

“There is no shortage of graphite and lithium but nickel supplies are most critical with global reserves declining.”

According to work to date, the proposed mine can deliver a plant feed grade for 25 years of 0.88 per cent nickel and 0.10 per cent cobalt. 

Definitive feasibility studies are currently being completed on Goongarrie.



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