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Australian Mines keeps the faith, advances fresh round of Sconi nickel-cobalt offtake discussions

Stockhead - Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) fell off the map when a comprehensive nickel-cobalt supply deal with South Korean battery maker SK Innovation was terminated late last year.

Offtake was — and still is — crucial to finalising a very large, very complex financing package for the +$1 billion Sconi nickel-cobalt development in Queensland.

For Australian Mines, locking in finance is a process made extra difficult by a prolonged downturn in prices for battery raw materials.

But with a supply crunch widely expected within the next five years, Australian Mines has evidently kept the faith.

The company will kick off a series of production runs at its demonstration plant in Perth to supply battery grade nickel and cobalt to a fresh bunch of potential off-take partners.

The production runs are to expedite discussions with these companies; discussions that are currently “preliminary, incomplete and confidential”, Australian Mines says.

The plant will also produce high purity scandium oxide for a potential research and development partner, also unnamed, “seeking to expand the industrial applications of scandium”.

Australian Mines managing director Ben Bell says this early stage interest in Sconi offtake is “encouraging”.

“Sconi is expected to be a low-cost, ethical source of high-grade technology metals at a time of huge demand for these commodities driven by the rapid growth in the electric vehicle and energy storage industries,” he says.

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