The grant will be used for the construction of Thakadu Battery Materials pure nickel sulphate plant in South Africa’s North West province.
Thakadu is well positioned to bring to fruition this nickel beneficiation project with strategic support from the DTI and existing shareholders.
The company is also in the process of concluding definitive agreements for debt funding – this is expected imminently.
The project has already seen major progress, with project execution having commenced. Detail design has advanced significantly, and the next steps will include issuing final tenders and procuring long-lead items.
The timing of the project’s execution is particularly fortuitous because battery companies are increasing loadings of battery-grade nickel sulphate in NCA (nickel cobalt aluminium oxide) and NMC (nickel manganese cobalt oxide) technologies.
The Thakadu plant will produce 25 000 t of high-purity battery-grade nickel sulphate from the crude nickel sulphate stream of platinum group metals producer, Lonmin. However, installed capacity is some 31 000 t, which means there is considerable potential to increase capacity utilisation and enhance project NPV (net present value).
Two other saleable streams will be produced by the plant, namely cobalt hydroxide and a relatively pure sodium sulphate.
Commercial production is set for the first half of 2019.
On completion of the plant, it is expected to create about 60 permanent jobs, in addition to 200 employment opportunities created during construction, says Thakadu CEO Ruli Diseko.
“We are delighted to have the DTI on board and we look forward to advancing beneficiation, job creation and technology localisation.”
Feature image credit: Thakadu Battery Materials