Alliance Nickel (ASX:AXN) awarded Australian Major Project Status for NiWest

Alliance Nickel (ASX:AXN) awarded Australian Major Project Status for NiWest

May 9, 2024 Off By Jack Baker

Alliance Nickel has been awarded a Major Project Status by the Australian federal government over its NiWest nickel cobalt project, standing near Leonora as one the highest-grade undeveloped nickel laterite resources in Western Australia and the nation.

The Major Project Status is awarded to projects of national economic significance and provides both government support and a single entry point for streamlined approvals.

The target for Alliance and the nation is production of around 90 thousand tonnes of nickel sulphate and 7000 tonnes of cobalt per year and 600 Australians employed during construction and the creation of 300 operational jobs.

An updated 2022 preliminary feasibility study showed NiWest Nickel producing over a venerable 27-year life for around a $2.1 billion net present value, and Alliance is looking to finalise a definitive study for the second half of 2024.

Alliance Nickel Managing Director and CEO Paul Kopejtka said the company was delighted its asset had been recognised by the Australian Government as a project of national significance.

“NiWest is the first nickel project to be awarded MPS since nickel was added to the Critical Minerals List earlier this year,” Kopejtka said.

“The NiWest Project is now recognised as significant from an industry and economic perspective, and we look forward to working closely with relevant Ministers, Government and industry bodies as we move towards construction.”

Alliance has a non-binding term sheet in place with Samsung SDI for battery-grade products from NiWest, and the Perth-based developer is now engaging with the WA government to further streamline approvals to produce it.

While a glut of Indonesian nickel has stricken Australian producers, the federal government has taken steps to back up its long-lucrative industry.

Canberra added the commodity to the Australian critical minerals list to open projects up to a $6 billion stimulus fund, and while there are calls for a taxpayer funded bailout of the nickel industry, others have pointed to the cyclical nature of commodity prices.

WA Mines Minister David Michael said his government remained confident over the industry’s long-term future, and both major commodity watchers and junior explorers have made their case for optimism.

Alliance sees demand growing for battery-grade nickel and cobalt products produced in compliance with the Inflation Reduction Act and now looks toward a definitive feasibility study this year to start producing.

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