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Sconi developers warn that window closing for deals and finance

Business

Australian Mines’ Sconi project and its estimated $5 billion in revenue is counting down to crunch time.

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By the companies’ reckoning, potential buyers of its nickel, cobalt and scandium have until next year to stitch up a deal or they will face a global shortage of nickel in 2023.

The two-year leeway is the time it will take Australian to develop the mine, which it claims has a net present value of $1.47 billion and would produce 1.4 million tonnes of nickel sulphate, which is in high demand as batteries and electric vehicles surge in sales.

Australian Mines said it was in negotiations with companies keen for offtake and they were now getting down to pricing terms, volumes and timelines.

Discussions with project financiers are progressing in parallel with the offtake negotiations.

Pre-development work is already happening on the Sconi site, near Greenvale in north Queensland, and the company is forecasting that 80 per cent of the workforce would be local. The project has been forecast to support an estimated 500 jobs over a two-year construction period and create 289 long-term positions once fully operational.

The project already has a “prescribed project” status with the Queensland Government, which has also offered a conditional financial support package, which remains secret.

Chief executive Benjamin Bell said Australian Mines was committed and in a strong position to take advantage of the increase in global demand for nickel and cobalt.

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