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Clean TeQ Sunrise Project, New South Wales

  • Mine Type

    Open pit

  • Location

    New South Wales, Australia

  • Producer of

    Nickel, cobalt and scandium

  • Start of production

    2021

  • Owner

    Clean TeQ

Clean TeQ Sunrise project, previously known as the Syerston project, is a massive high-grade Nickel-Cobalt-Scandium project under development in New South Wales, Australia.

The project is owned by Clean TeQ, an Australian company focused on the development and application of ion-exchange technology for the recovery of valuable metals.

Clean TeQ acquired the multi-metal project from Ivanhoe Mines in November 2014.

Clean TeQ Sunrise project holds the biggest nickel-cobalt deposit outside Africa and the biggest scandium deposit in the world.

The definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the project was completed in June 2018. Final investment decision as well as the start of construction on the project are expected in 2019, while production is expected to be commenced in 2021.

Clean TeQ Sunrise project geology 

Located in the Fifield district in central New South Wales, the Sunrise project’s ore body comprises a surfical laterite deposit in the Tout Intrusive Complex and extends over an area 4kmx4km with the presence of economic mineralisation up to 60m below earth surface.

Clean TeQ Sunrise reserves

The Clean TeQ Sunrise project was estimated to hold 65.5Mt of proven reserves grading 0.65% nickel, 0.10% cobalt and 48 particles per million (ppm) scandium, as of June 2018.

Probable reserves were estimated to be 81.9Mt grading 0.49% nickel, 0.08% cobalt and 57ppm of scandium.

Production

The DFS forecasts the Sunrise project to generate $14bn revenue by producing two million tonnes (Mt) of nickel sulphate and 400,000t of cobalt sulphate over its first 25 years of mine life, for the growing electric vehicle sector. The pre-production investment is estimated to be $1.33bn.

The mine is also expected to produce 80t of scandium oxide a year in the first ten years of mine life.

Mining method for Clean TeQ Sunrise mine 

Clean TeQ Sunrise will be a simple strip and open-pit mining operation involving loading and hauling with the use of backhoe excavators and standard mining trucks. 

Ore processing

The run-of-mine ore will go through crushing at the ore processing plant, which is capable of producing 2.5Mtpa of ore feed for high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL).

The mine will include two HPAL trains and associated sulphuric acid plant to leach the target minerals.

The leach solution will then undergo partial neutralisation in tanks using limestone slurry.

Nickel, cobalt and scandium will be extracted from the leach solution using Clean TeQ’s proprietary Clean-iX continuous ion exchange ore process technology, at the on-site hydrometallurgical processing plant.

The extracted mineral will go through refining and crystallisation to produce battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphates.

Scandium oxide will be extracted as a by-product of cobalt and nickel sulphate production.

Infrastructure for Clean TeQ Sunrise project

The Sunrise project will receive water supply from two bore-fields near the Lachlan river water via 70km water supply pipelines.

Electricity will be supplied through a 90km-long, 66kV overhead transmission line from Parkes.

A new rail siding will be built near Trundle to accommodate project logistics, while 40km of local roads will be upgraded.

Other infrastructure facilities for the project will include a back-up steam and power generation facility, tailings storage, evaporation and water storage facilities.

An accommodation facility will be built approximately 2.5km from the processing plant to house 1,300 people during construction and 300 people during operation.

Financing and off-take agreement for Clean TeQ Sunrise project 

A syndicate of banks comprising National Australia Bank, Societe Generale, Natixis and International Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) will provide a debt facility for the project development.

The first off-take agreement for 20% of the nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate production from the project was signed with Beijing Easpring in 2017.

Contractors involved 

The definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the project was carried out by SNC-Lavalin.

In December 2017, SNC-Lavalin and CB&I were selected as alliance partners with Clean TeQ to develop the proposal for the Sunrise project.