Queensland Pacific Metals (ASX:QPM) - MD, John Downie (left) and CEO, Stephen Grocott
MD, John Downie (left) and CEO, Stephen Grocott
Source: QPM
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  • During the March quarter, Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) made further progress on its TECH project in Queensland
  • Through a contract with New Caledonia-based SLN, QPM secured up to one million tonnes of nickel ore per year and is in discussions with other suppliers for additional ore
  • QPM is also advancing a DFS with extensive testwork being undertaken with interested parties and potential financiers
  • In early April, QPM received conditional finance support from the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-SURE) which it describes as a “significant milestone” for the project
  • QPM shares are up 5.88 per cent to trade at 18 cents

During the March quarter, Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) made further progress on its Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (TECH) project in Queensland.

The TECH Project is set to become a sustainable producer of critical metals and other by-products for the lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle (EV) sectors.

At the start of March, the company signed an ore supply contract with Société Le Nickel (SLN) after a long period of discussions and negotiations.

The contract followed a press conference in February which confirmed the Government of New Caledonia had approved an increase in SLN’s annual nickel ore export quota. This meant SLN could supply up to one million wet metric tonnes (wmt) of nickel ore per year to QPM for five years.

QPM is in active discussions with other ore suppliers for the balance of its ore required at full production.

The company continued to advance a definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the TECH project with extensive testwork being undertaken with interested parties and potential financiers to ensure commercial equipment is fit for purpose and optimised.

As part of the testwork, the company is focused on scaling up the DNi Process technology which involves the recycling of nitric acid.

According to QPM, the more nitric acid used, the more has to be recycled, which leads to higher capital and operating expenditure. To reduce nitric acid levels in the circuit (and therefore reduce capex), the company is optimising the leach circuit by employing counter current leaching.

Positively, testwork has so far showed that equal to or better extraction of metals can be achieved by counter current leaching and with lower levels of acid. The testwork is ongoing.

Other key highlights during the three-month period were progressing regulatory approvals required to construct the TECH project, and continuing discussions regarding ESG credentials with the Queensland State Government.

Following the quarter, Queensland Pacific Metals received conditional finance support from the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-SURE) for the TECH project.

QPM said the Expression of Interest from K-SURE is a “significant milestone” for the
provision of debt funding.

K-SURE said its participation in the debt syndicate will be in line with the terms and conditions of Export Finance Australia (EFA), which has previously provided a letter outlining $250 million of conditional financing support.

As the TECH project advances towards financial close, QPM is confident its strong ties with Korea will help it gain credit approval for debt funding.

The company ended the quarter with $40.7 million in cash.

QPM shares were up 5.88 per cent to trade at 18 cents at 11:52 am AEST.

QPM by the numbers
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