Queensland Pacific Metals Ltd has announced the result of its advanced feasibility study for Stage 1 of its TECH project.
Queensland Pacific Metals Ltd has announced the result of its advanced feasibility study for Stage 1 of its Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) project and a Scoping Study for Stage 2 expansion. The study into the TECH project has prompted the company to start formal debt funding negotiations with potential lenders.
Feasibility study for Stage 1 completed
Stage 1 of the TECH project has been designed at a nameplate capacity to process a 1.05 million-tonne-per-year throughput rate, with a design life of 30 years. The Stage 1 project would produce 15,992 tonnes a year of nickel sulphate, 1,746 tonnes a year of cobalt sulphate, 607,395 tonnes per year of hematite pellets, 4,000 tonnes a year of aluminium, and 28,856 tonnes a year of magnesium oxide. The capital estimate for Stage 1 of the TECH project currently sits at an accuracy range of -15% to +24%.
The company has made significant progress on procuring debt funding for this project, and formal due diligence with an Independent Technical Expert will commence due to the advanced feasibility study. This will begin as QPM also continue to undertake engineering work on certain aspects of the plant to improve accuracy. These aspects primarily concern the KBR engineering package, which includes iron hydrolysis, aluminium removal, and nitric acid recovery and recycling. QPM, Hatch, and KBR are working as an integrated team to optimise the design and minimise technical risk in these areas. In addition, cost reduction initiatives will be undertaken across the project.
Contingency in the capital estimate has currently been assumed at 10%. Following the KBR engineering package work and cost reduction initiatives, a detailed contingency estimate will be commenced using the standard Quantitative Risk Assessment methodology.
Expanding the TECH project
QPM has previously highlighted the strong potential for expanding the TECH project following successful Stage 1 commercialisation. This is based on the availability of limonite ore, gas supply, supporting infrastructure in Lansdown, and other factors. In addition, the execution of the offtake agreement with General Motors for 100% of nickel and cobalt production for the life of the project from a Stage 2 expansion further reinforces this potential.
QPM and Hatch have also undertaken a Scoping Study on the Stage 2 expansion of the TECH project. The Scoping Study capital estimate has an accuracy of +35% and an operating cost accuracy of +25%.
Further work to be done
The first production is scheduled for the last quarter of 2025. Between now and the final investment decision, the company will continue to work with its key equipment suppliers and engineering service providers to bring forward commissioning and first production.
Stephen Grocott, Managing Director and CEO of QPM, stated: “We are pleased to present the results of the feasibility studies for the TECH project. The outputs of these studies represent a moment in time and the culmination of hard work from the QPM team, Hatch Ltd and our other consultants. However, the work does not stop here and as we now continue to work on the project and advance towards a final investment decision in parallel with our funding initiatives.”