Swiss SPV Acquires Aussie Nickel Mine

Switzerland-based special purpose vehicle Zero Carbon Investek, is understood to have purchased the Yabulu nickel and cobalt refinery in Townsville for a purchase price that could reach up to AUD2 billion.

According to Australian media reports, the current owner of the facility mining mogul and former federal MP Clive Palmer is believed to have picked up the asset from BHP Billiton in 2009 for just AUD$1.

Yabulu is a significant nickel and cobalt refinery that was once north Queensland’s largest employer, but its high production costs and low commodity prices made it uneconomic.

Zero Carbon Investek is taking on the asset in more favourable market conditions and with governments supporting industries to decarbonise operations.

Demand for nickel is predicted to grow substantially over the next 30 years as electric vehicles (EVs) almost entirely replace internal combustion-powered cars.

The world’s biggest mining firm BHP Group predicts nine in 10 cars sold by 2040will be EVs helping to boost worldwide usage of key battery materials including nickel

The Zero Carbon Investek SPV is headed by entrepreneur Richard Petty who said the restart of the refinery was the key strategic priority.

The Swiss firm said it plans to develop a commercial-scale 1.5 gigawatt solar photovoltaic plant and battery storage facility at the refinery site, which is located in the Northern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone.

In a statement Petty said Zero Carbon Investek would invest an additional US$800 million on the mine and refinery to replace coal and gas-fired generation with solar, saving up to 500 kilotonnes of carbon emissions per year.

Petty said If approved, the solar plant alone will employ more than 50 people and will generate surplus power to be sold locally or interstate.

The sale is subject to approvals, including Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.

#Nickel #EV’s #decarbonisation