Tag Archives: Nickel West

BHP and Risen Energy to increase renewable use at Kwinana nickel refinery

BHP has signed a renewable power purchasing agreement (PPA) to supply up to 50% of its electricity needs at the Kwinana nickel refinery from the Merredin Solar Farm in Western Australia.

The agreement will help BHP reduce emissions from electricity use at the refinery by up to 50% by 2024, based on financial year 2020 levels.

The agreement with Risen Energy is for 10 years from February 1, 2021. This will effectively displace an estimated 364,000 t of CO2e over the life of the contract. This is the equivalent of removing 11,200 combustion engine cars from the state’s roads every year.

This is the first renewable energy PPA signed by BHP in Western Australia and follows renewable agreements covering BHP’s operations in Queensland in 2020 and Chile in 2019.

BHP Nickel West, Asset President, Eddy Haegel, said: “This contract will further increase the sustainability of the nickel produced by Nickel West. It will reduce the refinery’s electricity emissions by 50%, diversify our energy supply, and reduce the refinery’s electricity bill.

“Nickel is a future-facing commodity that is essential to creating the high performing lithium ion batteries used in battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Consequently, the demand for nickel and especially the nickel produced by Nickel West is set to grow dramatically. The sustainable production of nickel is also essential to meet this future demand as the customers purchasing BEVs want to know that the inputs to the manufacturing of these vehicles are also sustainable.

“Nickel West is already one of the most sustainable nickel producers in the world but has committed to significantly reduce CO2 emissions further.

“This contract, combined with our high quality nickel deposits, and our integrated value chain further improves our position as one of the lowest carbon nickel miners in the world.”

Risen Energy Australia, Vice General Manager, John Zhong, said: “We are proud to sign this agreement with BHP Nickel West. This agreement will bolster current and future Western Australian renewable projects. We look forward to welcoming many more clean energy partnerships to power manufacturing, minerals processing and other Western Australian industries.”

The contract will contribute to BHP’s medium-term, science-based target to reduce scope 1 and 2 emissions by 30% by 2030.

The 132 MW Merredin Solar Farm is made up of 354,452 solar panels and is West Australia’s largest completed solar farm. It has an output of 274 GWh/y of electricity. This is enough green energy to power approximately 42,000 Western Australian homes.

BHP Nickel West to reduce emissions with Southern Cross Energy contract extension

BHP has executed a 15-year contract extension to its power purchase agreement (PPA) with energy provider Southern Cross Energy (SCE) for the supply of electricity to its Nickel West operations in the Goldfields of Western Australia.

The agreement extends the current arrangement to 2038, giving Nickel West access to all electricity produced by SCE.

Nickel West Asset President, Eduard Haegel, said the PPA also provided Nickel West with the additional ability to integrate renewable electricity generation, including solar and wind, with energy storage technologies to meet its emissions reduction targets and deliver lower carbon, sustainable nickel to its customers.

Study phases for renewable energy supply and carbon emissions reduction under the extended PPA are underway, including an 18.5 MW solar photovoltaic farm at Nickel West’s Leinster and Mount Keith operations, supported by a battery energy storage system. A 17 MW waste heat steam turbine system at the Kalgoorlie smelter is also being evaluated to provide low-emissions electricity from furnace heat recovery, BHP said.

The combined projects have the potential to reduce Nickel West’s Scope 2 electricity greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15% by 2023, based on 2020 levels.

“These projects contribute to the first phase of our emissions reduction strategy, as we continue to evaluate plans for additional renewable energy supply to decarbonise our nickel operations,” Haegel said.

“We are at the beginning of an energy revolution that will transform our world and materially increase demand for nickel. BHP Nickel West is well placed to provide our nickel units sustainably, and with one of the lowest carbon footprints.”

BHP has committed to a science-based target of a 30% reduction in carbon emissions from 2020 levels by 2030, with a long-term target of net zero operational emissions by 2050.

“Our integrated value chain and the sulphide nature of our nickel deposits makes Nickel West one of the lowest carbon emitters in the industry and gives BHP a global advantage in the sustainable production of nickel,” Haegel said.

Coates Hire bags BHP Nickel West contract

One of Australia’s largest equipment hire companies, Coates Hire, has secured an estimated A$25 million ($17.7 million) contract with BHP’s Nickel West division.

The five-year contract will ensure the Coates Hire team can “add value” by providing safe and sustainable solutions through our its industrial services offerings, including equipment hire, tool management and maintenance, telemetry, day to day operations, short-and long-term hire, planned shutdowns, major shutdowns, and project works, Coates Hire said.

“Our experience on various mine sites across the nation will hold our people in good stead as we begin working at BHP’s Nickel West locations,” Murray Vitlich, Coates Hire CEO, said.

Nickel West is a fully integrated mine-to-market nickel business with over 3,500 employees and contractors. It has open pit, as well as underground, operations, along with concentrators, a smelter and refinery, all located in Western Australia.

Lycopodium to lead PFS for battery materials refinery project

Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) has appointed Lycopodium Minerals Pty as the Lead Engineer for the prefeasibility study on the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) project in Queensland, Australia.

Pure Minerals, the parent company of QPM, said: “With the acquisition of QPM being approved by shareholders and in the process of being finalised, Pure Minerals is excited to launch its planned battery materials refinery as the Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub.”

The TECH project will produce nickel and cobalt sulphate chemicals required for the battery energy storage sector, with QPM immediately commencing the PFS for a 600,000 t/y battery materials refinery producing approximately 25,000 t/y of nickel sulphate and 3,000 t/y of cobalt sulphate and other valuable co-products, Pure Minerals said.

The previous scoping study envisaged annual primary production of around 25,400 t/y of nickel sulphate and 3,000 t/y of cobalt sulphate (containing 5,760 t of nickel and 630 t of cobalt), alongside some 221,000 t/y of hematite, 8,700 t/y of alumina and 4,600 t/y of magnesium oxide. This came with construction capital costs of $297 million.

Lycopodium Minerals Pty is a subsidiary of well-regarded engineering company, Lycopodium, which has experience applicable to the TECH project, according to Pure.

This includes:

  • Being highly active in the battery metals space, having undertaken many feasibility studies for clients in nickel, cobalt, lithium and graphite;
  • Completing a feasibility study for Direct Nickel Projects Pty or a nominal processing plant using the DNi Process™ (a pilot plant example from CSIRO pictured), which the TECH project will be using, and;
  • Completing feasibility studies for other nickel projects incorporating downstream processing to produce battery chemicals, including BHP’s Nickel West project and Cleanteq’s Sunrise project.

The key responsibilities for Lycopodium under its contract with QPM are process, process services and utilities design and engineering; preparation of project capital and operating cost estimates; and compilation of the PFS report, including integration of studies relating to other work packages.

Lycopodium has also agreed to accept shares in Pure Minerals as consideration for around 20% of its estimated fees, according to Pure Minerals.

The PFS is expected to be completed in the September quarter.

Lycopodium Minerals Managing Director, Rod Leonard, said: “The outlook for battery metals is positive and Lycopodium is well positioned to carry out this body of work, having completed a wide range of studies for major, mid-tier and junior clients in this space.”

Thiess receives A$190 million contract mining extension from BHP Nickel West

Thiess, part of the CIMIC Group, is to continue providing mining services at the Leinster underground mine in Western Australia after agreeing a new deal with BHP’s Nickel West division.

The contract, for a minimum of 24 months, is expected to generate some A$190 million ($135 million) in revenue. It will see Thiess provide a full range of underground mining services and equipment to support the mine’s lateral development and associated ore production including load and haul, shotcreting, cable bolting and full fleet maintenance services.

CIMIC Group Chief Executive Officer Michael Wright said the contract extension acknowledges the company’s ability to work “flexibly with BHP Nickel West to meet the mine’s growing development and production needs”.

The Leinster underground nickel mine is part of BHP Nickel West’s Leinster nickel operation, located in the northern goldfields of Western Australia.

Thiess began work at Leinster in 2016, when the team excavated around 610 m of horizontal development to access nearly 230,000 t of ore using sub-level open stoping mining methods.

Last month, BHP said at the Diggers & Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, that it was likely to become a nickel sulphate producer within the next year.

BHP nears nickel sulphide production in Western Australia

BHP appears to be very much on board the battery minerals train after confirming this week at the Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, that it was likely to become a nickel sulphate producer within the next year.

The company is currently in the process of developing a nickel sulphate line to its Nickel West Kwinana refinery in Western Australia. The first stage project, to 100,000 t/y, will start to come online from April 2019, and the company has plans to double this to 200,000 t/y through stage two.

At the Diggers & Dealers conference on Monday, BHP Nickel West President Eduard Haegel said all regulatory approvals for the refinery project had been received and the project, which will rely heavily on automation, is starting to accelerate.

The company has a mini plant at the CSIRO facility in Perth where it has tested the process design to prove up around 100 kg/d of battery-grade product. These samples will shortly be distributed to potential future customers.

In addition to its future nickel sulphide production – Nickel West is already the largest producer of nickel powder and briquettes – the company is testing out producing cobalt sulphate within a mixed sulphate product.

Nickel West’s ambitions in the battery minerals space to 2040 are supported by a 6.2 Mt contained nickel resource base in Western Australia.

The Mt Keith Satellite project (Yakabindie) will be the first of a series of new developments at the company’s WA assets, with mining set to commence in the first half of next year.

Betheno, just north of Yakabindie, could be the company’s next Mt Keith development, with potential for production of iron-rich nickel sulphides, compared with other nearby deposits.

The company also has preliminary plans for two pit cutbacks at Mt Keith, while it has commenced a “concept” study to expand the Mt Keith concentrator from 40,000 t/y to 50,000 t/y. This is likely to require a third SAG mill to reach 45,000 t/y capacity and gradual replacement of flotation cells with larger capacity modern technology to hit 50,000 t/y.

Its 40,000 t/y Leinster concentrator, currently operating under capacity, also factors into this expansion with more ore set to initially come from the Venus deposit and, then, the B11 underground block cave development.