Queensland Pacific Metals Limited is pioneering the sustainable development of high-purity battery materials with its novel TECH project.
Queensland Pacific Metals Limited (“QPM”) plans to construct and operate a sustainable and high-purity battery materials refinery known as the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (“TECH project”), which is south of Townsville.
The TECH project has attracted significant attention as a potential supplier of nickel, cobalt, and high-purity alumina to the emerging electric vehicle sector.
Ore will be imported from New Caledonia and processed in a modern and sustainable plant to produce:
- Nickel sulphate (16,000 tpa contained nickel metal);
- Cobalt sulphate (1,800 tpa contained cobalt metal);
- High-purity Alumina (“HPA”) (4,000 tpa);
- Hematite; and
During operation, the project is forecast to generate more than 300 direct jobs and over 1,900 indirect supply chain jobs in the fields of transport, utilities, and engineering.
The TECH project will use leading-edge processing technology known as the Direct Nickel Process (“DNi Process™”). The DNi Process was developed in Australia in conjunction with CSIRO and further optimised by QPM to enable its commercialisation.
QPM’s offtakers and shareholders include LG Energy Solution and POSCO, two major Korean conglomerates.
Advantages of the DNi Process are:
- All valuable metals are extracted and recovered from the ore, minimising waste;
- Acid is recovered, leaving an inert process residue that does not require a tailings dam and will be used in commercial applications such as engineered landfill or concrete; and
- Low greenhouse gas emissions relative to other nickel processing methods.
In November 2021, QPM released an assessment undertaken by Minviro Ltd highlighting that the TECH project will be not only net zero carbon but significantly net carbon negative.
Through the TECH Project, QPM has established itself as a leader in sustainable nickel production with net negative carbon nickel production combined with minimal environmental footprint given no tailings dam or zero process liquids discharge.
- As well as this, the TECH project boasts the following sustainable initiatives: Based on a waste gas sourcing strategy, production from the TECH project will far improve on the best environmental alternative for any nickel production in the world;
- For every tonne of nickel in nickel sulphate produced, the TECH Project reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 14.9 kg CO2 /kg nickel in nickel sulphate;
- As a result of the TECH project, the annual reduction in Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions is estimated at 238,000 tonnes CO2-equivalent, which is equal to approximately 52,000 typical passenger vehicles; and
- The TECH Project will utilise waste mine gas from the Bowen Basin, which would be flared or directly emitted to the atmosphere as a fugitive methane emission (which has a Global Warming Potential factor of 25 times that of CO2).
AREAS OF EXPERTISE:
- DNi Process™ technology;
- Sustainable nickel-cobalt and alumina production; and
- Developing high-purity battery materials for electric vehicles.