Deal puts $ 1 billion in value at nightmare BHP nickel mine
The precursor would most likely take the form of nickel sulfate.
First Quantum will retain a 70 percent interest in Ravensthorpe and continue to operate the mine.
The agreement includes a long-term offtake agreement that will supply POSCO with 7,500 tonnes of nickel in a mixed precipitate of nickel and cobalt hydroxide per year from 2024.
The remainder of Ravensthorpe’s output will be marketed by First Quantum, which has been seeking a stake in the mine through Standard Chartered since last year. He will use the $ 240 million to pay off the debt.
BHP has stepped up its Nickel West operations in WA since cutting losses on Ravensthorpe, but sees the future of the metal in sulphide deposits, not laterite.
The logic behind BHP is that nickel sulfide is much better suited to meet the needs of battery and electric vehicle manufacturers.
However, the decision of POSCO – a leading integrated producer of cathode and anode materials for the electric vehicle battery industry – shows that there is life in laterite.
Ravensthorpe will supply part of the power as POSCO expands its secondary battery materials business.
David de Vries, chief operating officer of Ravensthorpe from First Quantum, said POSCO’s investment highlighted how important and connected the Goldfields-Esperance region of WA is to the global electric vehicle economy is.
“Ravensthorpe is strategically positioned as a clean and sustainable source of nickel and cobalt for the electric vehicle battery value chain,” he said.
“Attracting investments from POSCO, which is a forward-looking company with plans for rapid and innovative growth in electric vehicle batteries and green steel, shows their confidence in the future. “
The mine employs around 600 people, including contractors.
First Quantum is preparing to begin mining the Shoemaker Levy deposit, which is expected to provide stable power to the processing plant over the next 20 years.
The company said it was on track to complete construction and commissioning work at Shoemaker Levy, including a 10-kilometer-long conveyor belt connecting it to the plant, by June 30.