Junior explorer Metminco (ASX, LON:MNC) is joining the craze for securing battery metals sources by grabbing the Jejevo nickel project in the Solomon Islands, Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea.
The company is doing so by buying Sunshine Metals in a scrip transaction that will give it 80% of the project, on the country’s Santa Isabel island, and an 80% interest in an early stage bauxite prospect, the Tausere project, located on the Choiseul island.
Deal is well-timed as the President of the Philippines, the world’s No. 2 nickel ore supplier after Indonesia, repeated his call this week to shut all mines in the country.
The Jejevo project is based on nickel laterite mineralization, which was previously held by Inco and Sumitomo. It has an estimated exploration target resource of 10Mt-15Mt at grades of approximately 1.1%-1.3% based on drilling by the two former licence holders .
The move comes at a time when companies are scrambling to grab so-called battery metals projects, including nickel, lithium, cobalt, rare earths and copper, which are key ingredients in the making of electric vehicles.
By 2027, Roskill forecast primary nickel demand in batteries to be above 500,000 mt/year, which is one-third of consumption by the stainless steel sector. Nickel demand is expected to grow even more, surpassing the rise in consumption by stainless steel mills, Roskill said.
The deal is well-timed as the President of the Philippines, the world’s No. 2 nickel ore supplier after Indonesia, repeated his call this week to shut all mines in the country following deadly landslides. Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement came just hours after his minister halted all small-scale mining in a mountainous gold-rich region.
Until now, Metminco had been advancing a strong portfolio of exploration projects located in Colombia, Peru and Chile, mainly focused on gold, but with significant exposure to copper, molybdenum and zinc.
The company noted it will cancel its London listing following the acquisition due to the cost and low activity in the AIM market, though it will stay on the ASX.
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