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Sumitomo Metal Mining and Mitsubishi Corporation to Spearhead Kalgoorlie Nickel Project with Ardea Resources

Date Posted 04/05/2024

Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. (SMM) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) are set to revolutionize the nickel mining landscape through a strategic joint venture with Ardea Resources Limited. This partnership is designed to advance the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project (KNP) at the Goongarrie Hub, a noteworthy venture positioned in Western Australia.

Under the agreement, SMM and MC will co-finance the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the KNP - Goongarrie Hub, committing up to 98.5 million AUD. This study marks a pivotal step in assessing the project’s viability. Both companies will acquire a significant 50% interest in Kalgoorlie Nickel Pty Ltd, currently the sole entity managing the project under the ownership of Ardea.

The Goongarrie Hub is not just another mining site; it's one of the world’s largest nickel deposits. With projected annual outputs of 30,000 tonnes of nickel and 2,000 tonnes of cobalt over a life span of more than 40 years, the site promises to be a cornerstone of the global nickel supply. The collaboration leverages SMM’s expertise in extracting nickel and cobalt from low-grade ores using the High Pressure Acid Leach (HPAL) process, combined with MC’s rich history of successful mining operations in Australia.

The DFS is scheduled to begin in early 2024, with completion expected by the end of 2025. Furthermore, the joint venture will benefit from a grant from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which supports the stable supply of critical minerals crucial to Japan’s industrial base.

SMM is aiming to expand its nickel production capacity to 150,000 tons annually as part of its Long-term Vision, reinforcing its commitment to securing vital mineral resources. Similarly, MC’s "Midterm Corporate Strategy 2024 – Creating MC Shared Value" emphasizes accelerating energy transitions, including investments in nickel resources, to ensure a sustainable supply of battery minerals.

The upcoming SMM-MC joint venture, yet to be named, will officially commence operations in Australia in the first half of 2024. SMM will hold an 80% equity share in the venture, with MC holding the remaining 20%.

Ardea Resources Limited, founded in 2017 and based in West Perth, WA, is a significant player in the mining sector, listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. The company, led by CEO Andrew Penkethman, owns the extensive Kalgoorlie Nickel Project - Goongarrie Hub. This project operates an open-pit mining method and possesses substantial ore reserves estimated at 194 million metric tons, ensuring its position as a major contributor to the nickel and cobalt markets for many years to come.