Queensland and South Australian critical mineral processing plant pilots win grants

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Queensland Pacific Metals (QPI) and Renascor Resources South Australia are critical mineral companies that have received a combined $13 million (USD 8.7 million) in federal government grants to fund pilot processing plants.

QPI will receive $8 million to bolster domestic nickel and cobalt production, while Renascor Resources will receive $5 million for its pilot purified spherical graphite project.

The grants will cover up to 50% of project costs and help build diversified supply chains with support of partners in the United States, Japan and Republic of Korea.

Federal Resources Minister Madeleine King said the grants supported the Government’s Critical Minerals Strategy and a Future Made in Australia agenda.

“These grants will help to create high-paying jobs for Australian workers and mean more value is added to our critical minerals industry,” King said.

“We have a rich endowment of the critical minerals required for renewable energy technologies and our strategy will ensure Australia is well positioned to provide these resources as the world transitions to net zero. The road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector.”

The QPM project will produce battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate suitable for use in electric vehicles for sale to customers including United States-headquartered General Motors, and battery manufacturer LG Energy Solutions and integrated steel producer POSCO in South Korea. All three companies also have significant shareholding in QPM.

The Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) project will produce battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate suitable for use in electric vehicles.

Image: Queensland Pacific Minerals

QPMs project has been declared by the Queensland government a prescribed project, which infers state significance and is to be located in the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (Tech) Project in the Landsdown Eco-Industrial Precinct of Townsville, northern Queensland.

QPM Non-executive Director Dr Stephen Grocott said the company was grateful to the government for their support.

“This grant is a testament to the attractiveness of the Tech Project for high quality, excellent ESG battery materials production,” Grocott said.

The Tech Project will be a battery materials refinery, processing imported, high-grade laterite ore from New Caledonia to produce nickel sulfate and cobalt sulfate as well as other valuable co-products.

QPM has made three binding ore supply agreements with Société Le Nickel (SLN), Société des Mines de la Tontouta (SMT) and Société Minière Georges Montagnat (SMGM) to secure up to 1,800,000 wet metric tonnes (wmt) of nickel ore per annum.

The Renascor Resources Purified Spherical Graphite Pilot Processing Plant will produce purified spherical graphite for use in lithium-ion batteries. It will become Australia’s first vertically integrated graphite manufacturer.

Renascor Resources has also been supported through financing through the Critical Minerals Facility, administered by Export Finance Australia.

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