Dr Stephen Grocott, Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Presentation, November 2019:
"Sunrise is an unusual nickel laterite... it has moderate nickel grades, extremely high cobalt grades, and extremely high scandium grades"
"In our financial model we don't include any value from the scandium because world consumption at the moment is about 20 tonnes, we can produce about 300 tonnes per year... that will sit in a warehouse."
"Importantly, all permitting is done for everything we need to do and this is not easy."
"The next generation of electric vehicle battery technologies will be more nickel intensive. But a lot of the world's nickel resources can't be converted into nickel sulphate for electric vehicle batteries."
"Nickel will come from the conversion of class 1 nickel into very high purity (99.99%) nickel sulphate market (which is being taken away from the stainless steel market OR you can do what CLQ are doing in converting the ore direct to nickel sulphate"
"The Sunrise project will be the largest producer of cobalt outside of the DRC. There is also likely to be a premium for an ethically sourced cobalt"
"Most cobalt produced through the DRC is from legitimate miners, but there is a significant proportion of artisanal miners whose cobalt ends up in the supply chain"
"We don't want to sign away all of our offtake just yet because we are still trying to raise the equity component (partnership)"
"The technical team we have put in place is comprised of very good technical people. THE TECHNICAL TEAM WE HAVE IN PLACE HAS WORKED ON EVERY SINGLE NICKEL LATERITE PROJECT IN THE WORLD, EXCEPT ONE. (emphasis is mine)
"We have a great ore body. It is shallow. 50m deep maximum. The biggest operating cost is sulphuric acid, but we have very low acid consuming elements. This helps us with low OPEX."
"The autoclave is the biggest capital item. These are hydraulically limited vessels. So if you can thicken to a higher density, you can get more dirt per cubic metre into the slurry and you win, which is the case for CLQ"
"A lot of the flowsheet is relatively conservative, but one thing we have done differently is use continuous resin in pulp ion exchange technology."
"If we include all of the credits, we have very high equivalent nickel grades. We have the highest nickel equivalent grade of any comparable operation in the world"
"If I want to go from the plant to the mine it is a 3-minute walk. This isn't the case in most mines worldwide"
"Autoclaves have been purchased and are sitting in Port Pirie at the moment."
"We generate sulphuric acid on site. The steam is used for process heating and electricity generation. We will take 20 MW from the grid, although we generate a lot of energy ourselves."
"We neutralise the acid with limestone from a local mine"
"The scandium refinery is very small. You could fit it into this room. We will be producing 60 tonnes initially (can produce up to 300 tonnes) and we will initially sell between 5 and 15 tonnes per annum. The rest will be stockpiled in a warehouse to prove to the world the scale of supply available."
"We will have an ammonium sulphate by-product which we will sell to the local farming community"
"The IX technology was developed by the Russians. CLQ purchased the rights to the technology in the 1990s. The technology was developed for the Uranium industry and they are fully vertically integrated. I visited them many times when I was working for BHP"
"Where is risk for a new process? The first supposed risk is mechanical. Scale can be a dangerous existence. However, for these plants, there are something like 20 of them operating in the world already for gold and uranium (for example in Russia). The mechanical process is identical. If there was an Uzbekistan gold plant shutting down tomorrow and CLQ was in Uzbekistan, we would take the adsorption columns and use them in our plant. The design is identical. The mechanics are identical. Mechanically we don't really have a risk. There are many other plants operating in the world with this technology. We don't have a scale-up risk."
"The second supposed risk is chemistry. Chemistry is easier to scale-up as long as you are not dumb. It doesn't matter whether you are doing it in a jar or a 200 cubic vessel. The molecules don't know the difference. The IX resin we use is almost identical to hundreds of other sites in the world. The cross-linking to ensure the resin is strong is the same as used in Russia. There have been 4 extensive pilot plants with this technology, including by BHP. BHP had previously chosen this as their preferred technology for nickel operations. Why didn't they go with it? Well it was called the GFC. CLQ did the work with BHP. I was the BHP general manager who had to get the funds. When BHP got out of it, CLQ bought it back in a very nice deal. We have hired the world experts. Working for us is the person who invested the U-Column technology who is a Russian. We hired him in the mid-1990s. Earlier this year we hired from South Africa a world-class resin in pulp IX expert"
"The autoclaves were initially for a nickel project that was not proceeded with. They are oversized and we got them cheap. They are still pressured with nitrogen from when we bought them. Beautiful condition."
"Very attractive. 1st quartile operating costs. IRR of 19% which is very strong"
"When I left BHP and went to RIO, they said you buggers, we wanted access to that technology but we couldn't because CLQ had signed up to take that IX technology back from BHP (it was in the BHP owned South32 entity at the time)."
"CLQ has exclusivity of the technology outside of Russia. Since that IX technology was acquired we have made a number of improvements to the technology that we own the IP on"
"BHP 10 years ago were saying we want this technology and RIO wanted it too. We have been approached by many other parties asking if we would licence the technology and we said no."
"Our chairman Robert Friedland, is asking us whether we will get platinum, there is a moderate chance we will, but we are not sure"
"My CEO calls this a battery materials complex. Someone could come and built a plant right next to this plant"
"For a company like CLQ you look for different people. At my farewell speech at RIO, they said ahh CLQ must be offering you a great package. And I said, ahh no, I'm actually going to get less. I'm going to CLQ because I'm going to have fun."
"This is a great project. It will get built and it will get funded. The question is 'are the economic trade winds going to slow us down or not'. But, it will get built and funded. We want people who are bit adventurous. Most of the engineering team are in Perth and they will be going to the Parkes site for commissioning and ramp-up. We have a breadth of experience. This is what I like about small and medium style companies."
"CLQ have a water group, with a technical arm on the outskirts of Melbourne, the commercial arm is in Beijing. We design and sometimes build water operations, for example, the plant in the DRC or the plant in Oman. We have people that can work across those. We have a blue sky opportunity in graphene membranes."
"We have purchased high-security water rights, very clean water. Very low chloride concentrations. We have a RO plant for the boilers. We are very lucky"
World class asset. World class proprietary technology. World class team.
Management/board collectively own more than 30% of all shares on issue.
Multi-billion dollar company in the making.
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