Crocker explains, "we're looking to transform the company into a raw materials supplier for lithium-ion batteries, specifically the cathode, and Nico Young is the core focus there... we're looking to really move the project, move the company, forwards. There's a lot of investment alternatives out there, but there's not a lot that have credible management teams. We've come from a large company background and we're looking to come in and be able to position where we can finance, construct, commission and operate mining projects and really give investors a viable investment alternative, with a team that understands the commodity."
The flagship Nico Young nickel-cobalt project, which is in PFS stage, comprises the Ardnaree and Thuddungra resources. A resource upgrade is expected on Ardnaree in June or July, and around the same time drilling and metallurgical testing will recommence to upgrade Thuddungra. Meanwhile, testing is ongoing to establish a heap leaching process for the ultimate production of a mixed hydroxide product.
“It's a balance between getting to market quickly and not introducing a lot of technical and commercial risk, which some of our peers are doing in trying to produce a very downstream refined product. So, we're actually going to be quicker to market than, we think, any other nickel-cobalt project on the east coast of Australia... We anticipate production by the end of 2020," says Crocker.