Tag Archives: cobalt

Gradiant concentrating its mining proposition

There are plenty of mining applications one can see Boston, Massachusetts-based Gradiant’s end-to-end water technology solutions serving.

A spinout of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the company calls itself the “experts” of industrial water, water reuse, minimum liquid discharge (MLD) and zero liquid discharge (ZLD), and resource recovery of metals and minerals.

That is a big remit, hence the reason why it caters to at least nine industries on a global basis in mission-critical water operations, with over 70% of its clients being Fortune 100 companies in the world’s essential industries.

Mining companies have historically been wary of suppliers that serve a variety of industries, believing their needs rarely cross over with the requirements of other industries. Gradiant believes it is different in that its solutions incorporate not only the hardware and software to fine-tune water technologies, but also the artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure the tools being used are effective regardless of the inputs.

This includes the RO Infinity™ (ROI™) platform of membrane-based solutions for complex water and wastewater challenges, which combine Gradiant’s patented counterflow reverse osmosis (CFRO) technology with reverse osmosis and low-pressure membrane processes. ROI solutions enable customers around the world to achieve sustainability goals to reduce their water and carbon footprint, the company says.

This platform is complemented with AI-backed SmartOps™, an integrated digital platform for asset performance management to optimise and predict plant operations using historical and real-time process data, resulting in performance and cost efficiencies.

Prakash Govindan, Co-Founder and COO of the company, says most water solutions on the market are built for consistent liquid/solid feeds and work effectively when the input is in accordance with these specifications. When the feed changes, they often become ineffective, needing to be updated or changed out, which costs money and impacts the various processes on either side of the water treatment section.

“The machine-learning algorithms we use – neural networks and time-series algorithms – ensure we consistently optimise the operation of our solutions,” Govindan told IM. “These tools make sure we always use the right performance metrics and don’t lose efficiency in the face of variability.”

The algorithms cannot change the hardware built into the water treatment plant, but it can, for instance, change the speed of the pumps or blowers. “We call it balancing, which is all part of our IP portfolio,” Govindan said.

SmartOps is an integrated digital platform for asset performance management to optimise and predict plant operations using historical and real-time process data

For mining companies looking to employ water treatment tools at their operations, this results in Gradiant’s technology being able to concentrate metals to a higher degree than any other solution on the market, according to Govindan.

“We can concentrate an aqueous solution to the point where you can produce a solid material that miners can then process,” he said.

Considering desalination applications represent a significant portion of the company’s work to this point – through its CFRO process – the mining sector has already provided some wins.

The CFRO process enables remote inland desalination and water reuse that was not previously possible due to a lack of viable brine management solutions, according to Gradiant, concentrating brines to saturation for disposal or crystallisation while producing a purified product water stream for beneficial reuse.

One significant nickel miner in Australia with a brine stream is using this solution to recover large amounts of concentrate it can feed through to its captive processing plant to produce an end-use product.

“Gradiant’s technologies enable clients to recover more than 50% of the nickel and cobalt from leached brine – this stream would have otherwise been wasted without our solutions,” Gradiant said. “Overall, this was a client benefit of about 20% increase in nickel and cobalt production across the entire operation.”

When considered together with the energy savings (75%), freshwater savings (25%) and environmental benefits, Gradiant continues to see high interest from miners around the world to adopt its solutions, it says.

That is before even factoring in the other complementary benefits that come with using SmartOps.

“All our products benefit from in-built sensors that not only allow us to update the operating parameters based on the detected materials, but also carry out scheduled maintenance on the hardware using these algorithms,” Govindan said. “This allows us to carry out 30-40% less service intervals than many conventional suppliers as we only take the solution out of operation based on what the data is telling us.

“Not only this, but we also have complete oversight of these parameters from remote locations, meaning you can monitor the systems from remote operating centres and not remain on site after installation.”

With mines getting more remote and hiring local employees getting even harder with the well-documented skills shortages, Gradiant feels its solutions will continue to win miners over.

Brazilian Nickel achieves NHP heap leaching milestone at Piauí Nickel Project

Brazilian Nickel plc has announced that, after an 18-month construction and commissioning period, continuous nickel production has begun from the Piauí Nickel Project (PNP) in Brazil.

The first nickel hydroxide product (NHP) was produced from the world’s first standalone nickel laterite heap leaching operation recently, with initial production from the PNP1000 ramping up to produce 1,400 t/y of nickel in NHP at a later date.

In 2016 and 2017, Brazilian Nickel successfully demonstrated large scale heap leaching, purification and recovery of nickel and cobalt from Piaui ore. The company has expanded the existing demonstration plant to develop the PNP1000 operation.

The annual production guidance from the PNP1000 operation for 2022 is 300 t of nickel and 3 t of cobalt. This is anticipated to grow to 1,400 t of nickel and 35 t of cobalt in 2023.

The full-scale PNP operation could produce an average of 25,000 t/y of nickel and 900 t/y of cobalt, according to the company.

Mike Oxley, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are a producer! Although only a junior mining company with a small team and budget, we have successfully put the PNP1000 into operation. The production of nickel and cobalt at PNP1000 is a great achievement for the company. We are particularly proud to be bringing online a new stream of critical metals in this current environment where there is a growing need for a secure supply of nickel and cobalt which is required in green technologies, such as electric vehicles and solar panels.

“I would like to publicly share my enormous appreciation for the great work carried out by the team. Given the global disruptions of the last couple of years, what they have achieved is stunning and I am immensely proud of them, particularly because so many of the team are from the local project area. Through their hard work and dedication, they have shown how the simplicity of the heap leach processes can lead to rapid commissioning and start-up such that the challenge of supplying ever increasing demand for nickel to global markets can be met. Well done!”

Anne Oxley, Technical Director, added: “This is a huge step for Brazilian Nickel as we become a nickel laterite heap leach producer. Producing nickel in NHP from our low-carbon process will help the planet’s race to combat climate change. The product will feed the ever growing demand from electric vehicles.

“The knowledge and skills that have been developed over this process will be invaluable to the final delivery of the larger PNP operation. Production at PNP1000 will further develop the skills of our team and capabilities of our systems and processes.”

Jervois gears up for Idaho Cobalt Operations commissioning

Jervois Global is progressing the build of the Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) in the US, with the mill set to be commissioned in September and full production slated for February 2023.

Once in production, ICO is billed as being the only primary cobalt mine in the US, able to supply a critical metal necessary for electric vehicles, energy generation and distribution, defence and other industries.

In its latest project update, Jervois said that it had come up with a revised construction budget of $107.5 million that had board approval. This was up from the previous $99.1 million outlined, reflecting a heighted inflationary environment in the US.

This adjusted final forecast capital expenditure and schedule will form the basis of a “Cost to Complete” test by independent engineer RPMGlobal, who has been engaged by the trustee acting for bondholders under the terms of Jervois’ $100 million Senior Secured Bonds. RPM engineers are scheduled to visit site in early July to undertake the final Cost to Complete test ahead of the planned second tranche bond drawdown of $50 million later that month.

Mine development, meanwhile, continues at circa-25 ft/d (7.6 m/d), the company noted. Planned increases to underground working faces, improved water management and road conditions, as well as additional personnel and mining equipment on site, are expected to increase mine development productivity, it said.

“Jervois and its mining contractor, Small Mine Development, remain confident in the revised mining production targets that underpin the capital cost update,” the company stated.

Jervois says it is achieving infill drilling rates over 200 ft/d as part of a 19,000 ft underground campaign to decrease hole space aiming to enhance orebody knowledge. The drilling is improving the robustness of the resource model to generate a production block model for mining, it added.

The SAG mill, ball mill and crusher are each in place, and work continues with facilities construction and equipment placement, Jervois noted, saying that an official opening ceremony was scheduled at site for October 7, 2022. The SAG mill, a 4.7-m diameter and 2.5-m-long 750 kW installation, is provided by Metso Outotec.

A 2020 bankable feasibility study, managed by a joint team of DRA Global and M3 Engineering, was based on extracting 2.5 Mt of ore at an average grade of 0.55% Co, 0.8% Cu and 0.64 g/t Au. The initial mine life within the study was seven years.

BacTech Environmental building up to bioleaching pilot plant milestone

BacTech Environmental Corp, an environmental technology company delivering eco-friendly bioleaching and remediation solutions for precious metal and critical mineral recovery, says it is advancing its Sudbury pilot plant development for nickel-cobalt and ‘green’ iron recovery with plans for the plant to be operational in July.

Dr Nadia Mykytczuk, a leader in biomining technology, member of BacTech’s advisory board and Interim CEO and President of MIRARCO Mining Innovation, is leading the development and building of a bioleach pilot plant to be located in Sudbury, Canada.

Working closely with BacTech’s scientific team, the plant is for the testing of bioleaching processes like the company’s proposed approach for pyrrhotite treatment. The pilot plant will simulate a commercial bioleach process consisting of a cascade of reactors operating on a continuous basis. The plant will also include front and back-end equipment operating as separate units for capturing additional revenue sources beyond nickel-cobalt (eg elemental sulphur, iron as feed for steel making and oxidised residue conversion for construction materials).

The proposed pilot plant is expected to be operational by July. One reactor has been 100% completed to date and is being used to test select concentrates from BacTech’s Tenguel project in Ecuador.

On April 7, BacTech announced it had filed a provisional patent application documenting its proposed approach to bioleaching pyrrhotite materials. Pyrrhotite is a very volatile sulphide mineral containing nickel and cobalt values that oxidises rapidly and produces large amounts of iron and sulphur components as by-products, which are typically considered as wastes. The pilot plant is part of Dr Mykytczuk’s larger effort to establish the future Centre for Mine Waste Biotechnology, a facility focused on scale-up and commercialisation of biotechnologies to help extract value and reduce impacts from mine wastes.

The object is to use this pilot facility to obtain the design data necessary to establish a fully integrated tonnage-based demonstration plant, which would then lead towards full-scale commercialisation. The production of value-added materials from the iron and sulphur and oxidised residue, which would normally be disposed of as waste, differentiates this process from other pyrrhotite bioleach endeavours which only target nickel and cobalt production, BacTech says.

On May 11, 2022, the Canadian government announced a C$10.9 million ($8.5 million) fund to assist with the construction of pilot plants and projects to support the development of critical mineral value chains. The Sudbury Basin hosts up to 100 Mt of pyrrhotite tailings deposited over the past 90 years of mining estimated to contain on average 0.8% Ni and 0.03% Co, according to BacTech.

“We are very happy to see the government stepping up and providing capital for pilot stage plants in the critical metals space,” Ross Orr, President and CEO of BacTech, said. “This is probably the most difficult capital to obtain at the R&D stage, as the demands are much greater than a typical lab setup. We will definitely be answering the Canadian Government’s call for proposals. In addition to reactors and other equipment, we need to conduct studies on the pre- bioleach phase as well as recovery of metals from solution at the back-end.”

BacTech’s scientific path is to develop an innovative zero-carbon liberation and extraction approach to separating iron from its ore, in addition to optimising nickel-cobalt recovery efforts. BacTech says it believes its method answers the need raised by the Canadian Government and to accelerate the sustainable extraction and processing of critical minerals from existing mine tailings and invest in domestic production.

Orr concluded: “Providing the solution to the complex pyrrhotite issue in the Sudbury Basin would be a tremendous win for BacTech and its shareholders. Having completed an applicable year-long bioleach study with great results some 20 years ago gives us the confidence that we can succeed. The complementary technologies that we hope to now use were not available to us back in the late 1990s and should allow us to commercialise and sell multiple end-products derived from the pyrrhotite source.”

Repair, Reuse, Recycle: ERG’s critical minerals reprocessing journey

The Musonoi River Valley in the Katanga region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has, for some decades, been the site of land degradation resulting from inadequate and ineffective tailings and other waste management systems.

The local water system and surrounding land has been subjected to pollution from more than 83.2 Mt of legacy tailings spread over an area 11-km long and up to 2.5-km wide. Additionally, 41.1 Mt of tailings have accumulated at the Kingamyambo Tailings Dam.

Remediating and mitigating this damage is now a primary goal of Eurasian Resources Group’s Metalkol Roan Tailings Reclamation (RTR), a reprocessing facility dedicated to cleaning up the historic tailings left by previous mining operators in the Kolwezi area of the DRC. By reclaiming and reprocessing copper and cobalt tailings in the region, the company says its approach goes beyond ‘do no harm’, actively addressing a history of environmental degradation and pollution.

The legacy tailings are extracted through hydraulic mining and dredging, reprocessed and then re-deposited into a modern, closely managed and centralised tailings storage facility. This is subject to regular inspection, monitoring and reporting, supported by a dedicated Engineer of Record and an independent laboratory. Currently Metalkol RTR can produce 21,000 t/y of cobalt, which is says is sufficient for three million electric vehicle batteries, alongside around 100,000 t/y of copper, the company says.

ERG also has reprocessing operations outside of Africa, including at Kazchrome in Kazakhstan, which, it says, is the world’s largest high-carbon ferrochrome producer by chrome content.

Established in 2019, ERG Recycling – ERG’s specialised company aiming to become the largest entity to reprocess industrial waste into commercial products in Kazakhstan – has already implemented many projects including the commissioning of a new workshop that reprocesses slag, dust and other fine waste into high-quality briquettes. This program to reprocess Kazchrome’s 14.7 Mt of slag stockpiles has been expanded, now processing over 100,000 t/y of slag.

These operations have been enhanced by the development of new technology. Having completed the first trial in 2020, the Slimes 2 Tailings Reprocessing project at Donskoy GOK has the potential to enhance Kazchrome’s output of chrome concentrate by recovering 55% of the chromium oxide in chrome-oxide bearing tailings using innovative flotation technology, the company says.

In Brazil, at ERG’s integrated project, BAMIN, which produces a premium 67% Fe grade iron ore and is ramping up to become one of the country’s largest standalone iron ore exporters, the company’s transition from an upstream to a downstream tailings model ensured continued compliance with both local regulations and international standards, it said. The group continues to study additional technological enhancements to ensure the construction and operation of a world-class facility.

The environmental benefits of reprocessing projects like these are very significant for the business and critical to local communities, according to the company.

“As more attention rightly turns towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, it is crucial that tailings are dealt with and stored properly,” ERG said. “Aside from preventing significant issues, such as dam collapses, by reprocessing and responsibly storing these tailings, we are reducing local pollution risks more generally, increasing air quality and decreasing the likelihood of leaching toxic substances into surrounding habitats and water systems.”

Given the legacy of environmental degradation and serious consequences it poses, it is also necessary for mining companies to explore novel ways of rehabilitating the environment.

For example, ERG has been working with a team of agronomists from the University of Lubumbashi in the DRC to look into the experimental planting of trees and their growing potential at the Kingamyambo tailings dam.

Looking forward, these operations will support the sustainable development of affordable batteries and other clean energy technologies.

By producing critical raw materials, such as cobalt, without the risk and cost of needing to develop new mining projects, ERG says it can help make electric vehicles and other renewable technologies more accessible, helping facilitating the net-zero transition.

Pictured above is Metalkol RTR, ERG’s reprocessing facility in the DRC: the world’s second largest standalone cobalt producer

Nickel Mines targets further CO2 cut with SESNA solar power MoU

Nickel Mines Ltd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with PT Sumber Energi Surya Nusantara (SESNA) to implement, if certain economic parameters are met, 200 MWp of solar capacity within the Indonesia Morowali Industrial Park (IMIP).

The MoU provides for SESNA to undertake the role of “Project Initiator” for developing, financing, constructing, commissioning, owning and operating a 200 MWp solar farm project to significantly scale up the supply of renewable energy to the company’s Hengjaya Nickel (HNI) and Ranger Nickel (RNI) nickel processing operations within the IMIP.

Under the proposed agreement, Nickel Mines will be the long-term offtake partner for SESNA and will not be required to contribute any capital funding. The indicative tariff for electricity is considered competitive with other similar scale solar projects, the company said.

SESNA is, Nickel Mines says, an established and leading solar development company in Indonesia, owning and operating a portfolio of solar feed-in-tariff (FIT) and microgrid projects as well as providing services and solutions such as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) capabilities, solar financing and other technical development support to commercialise solar projects.

The potential 200 MWp solar project supplements the existing 396 kWp plus 250 kWh battery storage project which the company has entered into with SESNA for integration into the facilities at the Hengjaya mine (pictured), which is scheduled to commission this quarter. The Hengjaya mine, which hosts a JORC compliant resource of 185 Mt at 1.3% Ni and 0.08% Co, currently sources its power from diesel-powered generators. It is anticipated that the Hengjaya mine solar project will reduce diesel consumption by approximately 31 million litres over the 25-year projected project life.

Nickel Mines Managing Director, Justin Werner, said: “It is estimated this solar project could supply up to 20% of HNI and RNI’s current electricity requirements and, in doing so, account for a material reduction in annual CO2 emissions. This solar project marks an important first step in our ’Future Energy’ collaboration with our partner Shanghai Decent and our joint commitment to a more sustainable future for Indonesia’s nickel industry.”

The solar project may be implemented in stages with SESNA committing to finalise and deliver a project proposal within three months of signing the MoU, at which point the company may elect to proceed or terminate the MoU at its discretion.

Bartram comes back to TOMRA Mining ready for sensor-based sorting demand uptick

Having left TOMRA Mining more than a decade ago only to return to the Germany-based company in November, Kai Bartram’s re-arrival at the sensor-based sorting firm represents a good time to take stock and reflect on how far the mining sector has come with its understanding and acceptance of this type of pre-concentration technology.

Bartram, now Global Sales Director of TOMRA Mining and a member of TOMRA’s Mining Management Team, was happy to answer some of IM’s questions after getting his feet back under the table in the company’s offices in Wedel, Germany.

IM: How has the mining industry’s appreciation of the benefits of sensor-based ore sorting changed since you left TOMRA in 2010? What trends have led to a wider take up of the technology?

KB: In 2010, sensor-based sorting (SBS) was still seen as a niche technology in the mining industry. Some smaller, more innovative mining companies had seen the potential and effectively implemented SBS, but the mining industry, as such, had not accepted the technology. While in the industrial minerals sector several optical sorters – and, in the diamond industry, mainly X-ray luminescence machines – were operating, the rest of the industry was cautious about integrating sorters into their flowsheets.

That changed slowly with the introduction of Dual Energy X-ray technology. The technology is so robust and perfectly suited to the harsh environment of the mining industry that the economic benefits of pre-concentration became obvious. Another point that has strongly supported the adoption of sorting technology is the fact that average ore grades keep decreasing while energy costs keep increasing.

IM: Diamond and industrial mineral operations were typically the first adopters in the mining sector; what commodity sectors do you expect to see dominate demand for sensor-based ore sorting systems into 2030? What changes to the technology or wider industry understanding have led to this belief?

KB: In the beginning, sorters were seen as small machines, which would never meet the capacity requirements of large hard-rock mineral processing circuits. Therefore, only small mines saw the opportunity to implement sorting as a pre-concentration step in their process. Today, we see that our 2.4-m-wide flagship sorter, TOMRA COM XRT 2.0, can process up to 500 t/h, so that large operations can also implement the technology. An example of such a trend is the Ma’aden Phosphate Umm Wu’al processing plant, where 2,000 t/h are processed with TOMRA XRT sorters.

I am sure we will see more of these bigger projects in many different commodities. Of course, the current market trend is towards ores that are required for the electric revolution, like lithium, copper, cobalt and rare earth elements. TOMRA has proven that we have the right solution to upgrade those ores efficiently and can contribute to more economical output. So, I expect to see more installations in the future.

The TOMRA COM XRT 2.0 units can process up to 500 t/h

IM: Are there any regions more willing to apply these solutions than others? Why is this the case?

KB: If you look at our global reference list, you can see that the larger installed base resides in Europe, Africa and the Americas. The Asian markets are a little behind, but this is easily explained by history. As a European company, we focused more on the better known and established markets. In general, the mining market is a very global industry with big players active in all continents.
I do not believe there are regions more willing to apply the technology than others. It is just a matter of supporting all regions in the same way. TOMRA is investing heavily to ensure we have a good global support network, to be there for and with our clients.

IM: Do you expect to see more collaboration with OEMs over the next decade when it comes to implementing ore sorting solutions with process flowsheets? How do you see the input of both TOMRA and OEMs benefitting the wider mining industry?

KB: Collaboration is essential in any industry. We need specialists who are experts in their field, and TOMRA is one of the global leaders in sensor-based sorting. In order to achieve the best results in one field, one must focus. Therefore, big projects can only be undertaken by a group of companies or experts who collaboratively work together. We, as a solution provider, are very dependent on well-engineered and integrated plant designs and believe we have to collaborate and have close relationships with plant builders to ensure the best possible solution for our clients.

BHP backs Kabanga Nickel mine development and refinery plan

BHP has invested $40 million in Tanzania-focused Kabanga Nickel, in addition to backing Lifezone Limited and its patented hydrometallurgical technology with a $10 million investment.

Kabanga Nickel Limited says its share of the cash will be used to accelerate the development of the Kabanga nickel project in Tanzania, which it claims is the world’s largest development-ready nickel sulphide deposit.

Lifezone, meanwhile, will use the funds to advance the roll-out of its technologies. The owner of the hydrometallurgy technology that will be used to build and operate the planned nickel refinery in Tanzania, Lifezone claims this technology is more cost efficient than smelting, has a significantly lower environmental impact, and will ensure that finished Class 1 battery-grade nickel, copper and cobalt will be produced in Tanzania.

Chris Showalter, Kabanga Nickel CEO, said: “BHP is the ideal partner for Kabanga Nickel, bringing significant advantages and expertise that will enable us to move ahead with the project.

“BHP’s investment reflects the project’s strong ESG credentials and its role in improving environmental performance throughout the nickel value chain. In addition, BHP’s funding support of Lifezone’s hydromet technology – the future of sustainable metals processing – will drive progress towards a greener world. Through development of Kabanga and Lifezone hydromet, Tanzania will have a growing role in the supply of the battery metals needed to move to a global low carbon economy.”

The Kabanga nickel project has had more than $290 million spent on it by previous owners such as Barrick and Glencore between 2005 and 2014, including 587,000 m of drilling. The outcome of this previous investment is an in-situ mineral resource of 58 Mt at 2.62% Ni, containing more than 1.52 Mt of nickel, 190,000 t of copper and 120,000 t of cobalt. The Barrick-Glencore joint venture also outlined a mine plan in a draft feasibility study that looked to recover 49.3 Mt of ore at 2.69% nickel equivalent from the two primary orebodies – North and Tembo. Kabanga is in the process of updating this plan.

While the BHP transaction is for a total consideration of $50 million, with investments in both Kabanga Nickel ($40 million) and Lifezone ($10 million), future investment tranches in Kabanga Nickel have been agreed subject to certain conditions. This includes a second tranche of $50 million and the right for BHP to make a further investment in Kabanga Nickel subject to achieving certain agreed milestones.

The first tranche of $40 million will convert into an 8.9% equity stake in Kabanga Nickel (7.5% see-through interest in Tembo Nickel Corp) once approvals and conditions are met. Once invested and on conversion, the second tranche of $50 million will increase BHP’s equity stake in Kabanga Nickel to 17.8% (15% see-through interest in Tembo), thereby valuing the project at $658 million, post-money. Tembo Nickel is the joint venture owner of the project, owned 84% by Kabanga Nickel and 16% by the Government of Tanzania, set to undertake mining, processing and refining to Class 1 nickel with cobalt and copper co-products near the asset.

The investment into Kabanga Nickel from BHP will support an acceleration in the mine’s development, including an enhanced metallurgical drilling program (which has already started) to enable update of the definitive feasibility study and support the construction plans for the hydromet refinery. These studies are expected to be completed by the end of 2022. Site and infrastructure development is already underway. The investment will also support hiring and training of local Tanzanian talent.

The investment into Lifezone allows for new patent applications as well as R&D work that will further commercialise the Lifezone hydrometallurgical technology. Lifezone currently has patents granted in over 150 countries.

The current project development timeline anticipates first production in 2025. Output will ramp up to target a minimum annual production of 40,000 t of nickel, 6,000 t of copper and 3,000 t of cobalt.

TotalEnergies to help Prony Resources decarbonise New Caledonia nickel, cobalt ops

TotalEnergies says it will develop a series of photovoltaic (PV) and energy storage projects in New Caledonia for Prony Resources’ operations in the country.

The company will deliver decarbonised electricity via a 25-year renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) for the  operations, developing, in successive phases, ground-based PV arrays with installed capacity of 160 MW, as well as 340 MWh of energy battery storage capacity, between 2022 and 2025.

Most of the installations will be located on property owned by the Grand Sud hydrometallurgical plant, TotalEnergies says, with the first PV power plant (30 MW) scheduled to come on stream in 2023.

Ultimately, the project will cover nearly two-thirds of the site’s electricity needs and will help avoid close to 230,000 t of CO2 emissions, according to the company. This project strengthens Prony Resources New Caledonia’s ambition of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040, it said.

Earlier this year, Vale Canada concluded the sale of its ownership interest in Vale Nouvelle-Calédonie SAS (VNC) to the Prony Resources New Caledonia consortium. VNC is a producer of nickel and cobalt from the Goro mine. 

The company said: “By combining solar energy and energy storage to replace electricity generated from coal, TotalEnergies is demonstrating its ability to provide a sustainable energy solution to Prony Resources New Caledonia while meeting demanding local, industrial, environmental and social requirements.”

Thierry Muller, CEO of TotalEnergies Renewables France, said: “Prony Resources New Caledonia’s commitment to decarbonisation is both ambitious and pioneering in the industry. We are very proud to support their energy transition, and that of New Caledonia

“As industrial firms, we think and act responsibly. Our two companies are committed to protecting natural resources and biodiversity, and to improving the situation of local communities. With this long-term partnership, we are demonstrating that it is possible to support industrial activity in New Caledonia and participate in a sustainable development approach at the same time.”

Antonin Beurrier, Chairman of Prony Resources New Caledonia, added: “Certainly, one of the most important pathways in our industrial transformation – an orderly and assertive transition of our energy mix towards renewables – allows Prony Resources to ensure that its electric vehicle battery manufacturer customers are supplied with high environmental quality nickel and cobalt while contributing to New Caledonia’s sustainable development.

“The choice of TotalEnergies brings in world-class industrial expertise and opens the door to exciting opportunities and innovations in the years ahead.”

Metso Outotec to supply VSFX tech for Li-Cycle battery recycling plant

Metso Outotec says it has signed an agreement with Li-Cycle North America Hub Inc for the supply of manganese, cobalt, and nickel solvent extraction technology for a battery recycling plant to be built in Rochester, New York in the US.

The contract value, which is not disclosed, has been booked in the Metals December quarter 2021 orders received.

The Metso Outotec delivery includes three modular VSF®X solvent extraction plants and related Dual Media Filters, and basic engineering.

Jari Ålgars, President of the Metals business area at Metso Outotec, said: “We are looking forward to working with Li-Cycle on this battery recycling project. The energy-efficient, modular VSFX solvent extraction plant, which is part of our Planet Positive product range, reduces emissions and is safe to operate. The Li-Cycle project will be an important new reference for Metso Outotec in the battery recycling business.”