Green Hydrogen: Aspiring Towards 2050 Zero Emissions Energy Production

COMMODITY CAPERS: Opening the book on ‘Green Hydrogen’ a reader would most likely be surprised to read of the collaboration between former Australian Prime Minister and mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest.

The two gents are co-founders of the Green Hydrogen Organisation (GH20), which advocates clearer boundaries between green hydrogen made using renewables, and supposedly ‘clean’ H2 as a by-product from the fossil fuel sector, such as blue hydrogen, which is made from fossil gas linked to carbon capture and storage (CCS).

H2, also called molecular hydrogen, is a gas which forms when two hydrogen atoms bond together and become a hydrogen molecule.

It is the most common form of Hydrogen because it is stable with a neutral charge.

The thinking behind the formation of GH20 is to provide green hydrogen with its very own organisation for representation around global energy table talks.

This is because the emerging technology requires a different set of policy settings and investment decisions, as opposed to fossil fuel hydrogen.

Speaking at a Clean Energy Council webinar earlier this year, Forrest said Australia needs to set a target for green hydrogen as a contributing factor in the Nation’s quest to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

“This is our last chance to slow, then stop, the planet cooking,” he said.

“I am not in the doomsday business; I’m an optimist, and I am in the solutions business.

“My answer is renewable green hydrogen.

“The answer isn’t to stop mining iron ore, which is critical to the production of steel, and to humanity.

“The answer is green zero-emissions energy to make all iron ore and steel.

“If it is not renewable green, don’t be fooled by any other colour-coded spin.

“Any other colour than renewable green is dirty hydrogen.”

The potential for hydrogen as a potential source of clean energy is well-founded, especially when you consider one kilogram of hydrogen contains about 2.4 times as much energy as natural gas.

The only input needed to release this energy is oxygen and the only output is water, the consequences being that, as an energy source, hydrogen produces zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

However, to be able to utilise it as a source of energy, hydrogen must be in its pure form, which means it must be extracted from another material.

Depending on the source material used, the hydrogen produced is graded into colours to acknowledge the GHG emission profile.

The brighter, more user-friendly members of the rainbow spectrum, such as green, blue, even turquoise and pink, have lower emissions, while the gloomier colours of grey, brown and black produce higher emissions.

Green hydrogen is extracted using a method that does not produce GHG emissions and as a result is considered sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“Green hydrogen is most commonly produced using a device called an electrolyser,” Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said in a CSIROscope article.

“Electrolysers use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

“The key to this method of producing green hydrogen is that the electricity that powers the electrolyser comes from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, which have no associated GHG emissions.”

Blue hydrogen is produced using a process called ‘steam reforming’, which uses steam to separate hydrogen from natural gas.

Production of blue hydrogen does produce GHGs, however carbon capture and storage technologies can be used to capture and store those emissions.

“Hydrogen has exciting potential as an emerging source of clean energy,” CSIRO said.

“But not all hydrogen is the same.

“Colours help to differentiate between the types of hydrogen.

“The colours, however, can be distracting from the main game.

“Hydrogen will only achieve its goal of being a clean source of energy if it does not generate emissions during production.”

CSIRO is not the only body with a positive outlook for the role hydrogen from renewable energy could potentially play in the global energy transformation.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has said in its Hydrogen: a renewable energy perspective report, “hydrogen from renewable power, so called green hydrogen, could translate into eight per cent of global energy consumption by 2050.”

At this time, IRENA anticipates some 16 per cent of all generated electricity would be used to produce hydrogen by 2050.

“Green hydrogen could particularly offer ways to decarbonise a range of sectors where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce CO2 emissions.”

According to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) Hydrogen is a priority low emissions technology for Australia.

DISER said producing clean hydrogen under $2 per kilogram (H2 under 2) is a priority stretch goal under the federal government’s 2020 Low Emissions Technology Statement.

In the statement, Minister for Energy and Emissions, Angus Taylor outlines the government’s intention to continue to invest in mature technologies, such as coal, gas, solar, and wind via its Technology Investment Roadmap research and development strategy.

“The Government’s efforts will focus on new and emerging technologies with the potential for transformational economic and emissions outcomes, in Australia and globally,” Taylor says.

“Getting these technologies right will create jobs, and preserve and expand our energy-intensive export industries.

“We will beat our 2030 emissions reduction target, with a platform for future emissions reductions beyond the next decade.

“This technology-led approach won’t compromise energy affordability or reliability, and will position Australia as a global technology leader.”

DISER outlined the aims of the strategy to include:

Delivering more affordable, clean and reliable energy to households and industry for transportation, heating, production and power;

Expanding production and increasing productivity, creating jobs and substantially reducing emissions from Australia’s primary industries;

Preserving and expanding onshore manufacturing of energy-intensive products and capturing new export markets for low emissions commodities; and

Scaling geological and biological sequestration such that we provide globally significant permanent sequestration of CO₂.

Hydrogen hasn’t featured very high on too many top ten lists of interesting things in recent times, despite it being the most common chemical in the universe.

This is a bit unfair, especially given Hydrogen is a multi-talented chemical, which in musical theatre terms would be described as a ‘triple threat’, in that it can be produced as a gas or liquid, or made part of other materials, enabling it to be used in myriad forms, including as fuel for transport or heating, a way to store electricity, or as a raw material in industrial processes.

The government is now talking up the green credentials of hydrogen, by highlighting it can be produced using renewable energy or processes, enabling it to be stored as a form of renewable energy for use at a later time when it is needed.

The strategy was supported this year when government agency, Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced funding to support a feasibility study by Rio Tinto to investigate the potential to partially decarbonise its alumina refining operations using renewable hydrogen.

Historically, alumina refining has used natural gas to achieve the high temperatures necessary in the calcination process.

The Rio Tinto study will investigate the technical implications of displacing natural gas with renewable hydrogen at the company’s Yarwun alumina refinery in Gladstone, Queensland.

“If we can replace fossil fuels with clean hydrogen in the refining process for alumina, this will reduce emissions in the energy and emissions intensive refining stage of the aluminium supply chain,” ARENA CEO Darren Miller said.

“Exploring these new clean energy technologies and methods is a crucial step towards producing green aluminium.

“This study will investigate a potential technology that can contribute to the decarbonisation of the Australian alumina industry.

“If successful, the technical and commercial lessons from Rio Tinto’s study could lead to the implementation of hydrogen calcination technology, not only in Australia, but also internationally.”

IRENA noted the falling cost of renewables is advantageous to the potential of green hydrogen.

This is particularly for so called ‘hard-to-decarbonise’ sectors and energy-intensive industries and the global desire to clean them up and to limit CO2 emissions.

“Large-scale adoption of hydrogen could also fuel an increase in demand for renewable power generation,” IRENA said.

“In total, IRENA sees a global economic potential for 19 exajoule (EJ) of hydrogen from renewable electricity in total final energy consumption by 2050.

“This translates into around 4-16 terawatts (TW) of solar and wind generation capacity to be deployed to produce renewable hydrogen and hydrogen-based products in 2050.”

As IRENA says, the introduction of hydrogen-based solutions will not happen overnight, and the technology is more than likely to be at the rear of the global pack, unless governments start to get super serious.

“Green hydrogen could make a substantial contribution to the energy transition in the long run,” IRENA said.

“(The Agency’s Report)…recommends acknowledging the strategic role of hydrogen in the transition and at the same time calls on governments and private sector to better understand energy system benefits, cost-reduction and investment requirements to tap into the potential of a hydrogen future.”



Batteries Generating Market Buzz

COMMODITY CAPERS: If you haven’t heard rumblings in recent times regarding the rise of global battery markets, then you really haven’t been paying enough attention.

The world received its first lithium-ion battery in 1980 when it fell off the drawing board of American inventor John Goodenough.

From humble beginnings they went on to take over the world, being responsible for powering so many of the devices we use every day, such as our phones, computers and televisions.

Climate change and carbon emissions have combined to provide the perfect storm for Li-ion batteries thanks to their use in the development of electric vehicles (EVs).

This is by no means a new phenomenon.

In 2017 EVs had become the environmental touchstone and were predicted back then to dominate the market sooner, rather than later, due mainly lower costs for battery manufacturing and commitments from car companies to establish themselves as market leaders.

In its Electric Vehicle Outlook 2017 report, Bloomberg New Energy Finance noted just how quickly EVs would start to dominate the global car market.

“By 2040, 54 per cent of new car sales and 33 per cent of the global car fleet will be electric,” Bloomberg said.

“Falling battery prices will bring price-competitive electric vehicles to all major light-duty vehicle segments before 2030, ushering in a period of strong growth for electric powertrain vehicles.

“While EV sales to 2025 will remain relatively low, we expect an inflection point in adoption between 2025 and 2030, as EVs become economical on an unsubsidized total cost of ownership basis across mass-market vehicle classes.”

That was then and just last year more than 2.6 million electric vehicles were sold in the world’s two emerging major EV markets, with Europe selling almost as many plug-in electric cars as China a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down this year.

Western European plug-in electric car sales rose to 12.3 per cent of car sales in 2020, while in China EV sales hit 5.4 per cent of the broader market in 2020.

Australia should not be left out of any discussion concerning the purchase of electric cars.

If there is a new status symbol in town, Australians, particularly those in the West are always eager to cut in line for their bit of the action.

In its 2021 August/September Horizons members’ magazine the Royal Automobile of Western Australia declared the state to be on the way to 2000 registrations of EVs, with the WA Department of transport data affirming 1819 EVs had been registered by March 2021.

“These included battery electric vehicles (BEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV),” RACWA said.

“Of these, 1393 were BEV, 411 were PHEV and 15 were FCEV.

“The most common BEV was the Tesla Model 3, at 426, followed by the Nissan Leaf (201) and the Tesla Model S (149).”

Battery market growth creates unique opportunities for Australian producers of key commodities, notably lithium, graphite and cobalt.

“Already, demand for batteries and associated technologies has changed the game for producers of lithium, cobalt and graphite, turning them into outliers at a time when other commodities are undergoing price falls and declining investment,” the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources said.

“Time and technological change will show whether the battery boom can drive wider change in global markets and energy models.

“Investment is being drawn by the promise of electric vehicles, and by the potential for community-generated solar power to displace grid monopolies and fossil fuels.

“This investor interest is, in turn, generating sizeable funds dedicated to further research and development.

“Commodity demand will be strong in the short term, but long-term prospects for battery technology are still in motion.

“The potential opportunities are vast, and investment and production decisions of today could cast a long shadow into the future.”

Australia ranks fourth globally for lithium deposits and is currently the largest producer of lithium.

Source: DISER: Resources and Energy Quarterly June 2021

The country hosts substantial resources of spodumene, potentially making it a major producer over the longer term.

Graphite is used for a range of products, including lubricants, foundry operations, brake linings, and steelmaking, with the use of graphite in batteries on the rise.

China is currently the main producer of graphite, but there is noise from countries such as Brazil and Turkey that they too could host greater reserves than what is presently known.

Australia’s reserves of graphite are comparatively modest, and at this stage there are no operating graphite mining projects, however, a range of projects are currently being progressed.

Refined cobalt supply is expected to fall below consumption, which is being pushed up by demand from Li-ion batteries and aerospace industries and advancements are suggesting developing battery technologies may require less cobalt.

Until that time cobalt will need to be found somewhere, and again China leads the refined cobalt producer pack, owning 70 per cent of global refinery capacity.

What is advantageous to potential Australia producers is that the bulk of cobalt is sourced from mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there is increasing concern over the use of child labour and environmental damage.

Australia has significant cobalt reserves, although there are no dedicated cobalt mines in operation with most cobalt mined as a by-product of copper, gold or nickel mining.

Around 40 of Australia’s gold and nickel operations are co-located with some form of cobalt deposit.

If you think this is all going unnoticed by the country’s mining industry, think again

At the 30th Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie this year, there was any number of companies more than willing to talk up their battery metals credentials that are combining to contribute to a revolutionary transformation of the traditional nature of the mining sector.

One such company was IGO Limited (ASX: IGO), which concluded the forum by taking out the prestigious Dealer of the Year Award at the closing night Gala Dinner.

Speaking during his presentation spot on Day One, IGO managing director and chief executive officer Peter Bradford went through the company’s recent transition from a diversified producer seven years ago with two profitable but short-life base metals mines and a 30 per cent minority stake in the Tropicana gold mine (with international partner AngloGold Ashanti) to one specifically focused on metals that are critical to a green energy world.

The movement began with IGO’s acquisition of the Nova nickel-copper project in WA through a friendly takeover of Sirius Resources in 2015.

As Nova reached commercial production, the company then known as Independence Group saw crystal ball opportunities of the emerging demand for battery metals to drive a global trend towards clean energy.

A subsequent change of tack that included the sale of its Tropicana stake to Regis Resources, resulted in IGO holding a unique portfolio of nickel, copper, lithium and cobalt assets in a Tier 1 jurisdiction and further exploration projects focused on discovery of the next generation of nickel and copper mines.

Bradford said the company’s impetus was its belief in a green energy future, “and our belief that we can make a contribution to a better planet.”

COVIC-19 didn’t succeed in driving the climate change conversation away, but it did ramp it up.

“COVID hit the pause button on the planet, we paused power production, we paused industry and we paused transportation,” Bradford said.

“As a result, we all got an opportunity to see what could be. Places around the world that haven’t seen clean air for generations were able to see clear blue skies.

“That’s allowed all of us to visualise what could be possible and how we could make a contribution for future generations.

“Our strategy is to be a globally significant supplier of clean energy metals and a diverse suite of products made safely, ethically, sustainably and reliably.

“To my knowledge, we are the only company globally that produces that one-stop for electric vehicle battery metals.”

Source: IGO Diggers & Dealers Presentation

Batteries are now the tip of the global manufacturing iceberg.

A report prepared in June this year for the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) by Accenture determined that diversified battery industries could contribute $7.4 billion annually to Australia’s economy and support 34,700 jobs by 2030.

The report concluded that Australia now has a major economic opportunity to leverage its competitive advantages to become a dominant supplier of battery minerals and expand its role within a growing global industry.

“This report provides a compelling business case for Australia to develop into a competitive player in the international batteries industry, and Australia has many strengths for succeeding in this ambition,” Stedman Ellis, CEO of the FBICRC said.

“We are shining a light on the different segments of an industry in which Australia can be a leader, and there is substantial economic value to gain if we capture the opportunity.”

The report lays down a pathway for Australia over the next ten years, during which time the opportunity exists for real industry growth, shaped by changing international relationships and driven by technological improvements in batteries, increasing demand for energy storage and regulatory changes to energy systems.

Source: Accenture – Future Charge: Building Australia’s Battery Industries Report

Demand for batteries has grown steadily but is now forecast to accelerate, increasing nine to ten-fold over the next decade, with sales expected to reach US$133-151 billion by 2030.

I think we would all like a piece of that.


Global Lithium on Lithium Hunt at Marble Bar

COMMODITY CAPERS: Global Lithium (ASX: GL1) is a recently-listed lithium exploration company with a primary focus on the company’s 100 per cent-owned Marble Bar lithium project (MBLP) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Global Lithium has already defined a maiden Inferred Mineral Resource at the MBLP of 10.5 million tonnes at 1 per cent lithium at the Archer deposit, which it believes to confirm the project as an emerging new greenfields lithium discovery of note.

The Marble Bar project is located 150km south-east of Port Hedland and 15km north-west of Marble Bar in a neighbourhood that is already populated by globally significant lithium deposits, including the world-class Pilgangoora deposit of Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS) and the Wodgina deposit Joint Venture between Albemarle and Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN).

Global Lithium claims the MBLP exhibits spodumene bearing pegmatite intrusives within the project area greenstone, which is a similar geological setting to that as seen in those nearby major lithium deposits.

The company reported its maiden drilling program at the MBLP substantially extended the known strike length of known lithium mineralisation at the Archer deposit and its surrounds.

RC holes and surface rock chip samples recording lithium mineralisation and anomalism, with associated anomalous tantalum, which Global interpreted to be further evidence that the MBLP is continuing to emerge as an important spodumene lithium deposit in a premier hard rock lithium mining jurisdiction.

“Our maiden RC drilling program as a listed company has delivered some excellent results, providing us with a fantastic foundation to build on as we progress into our next phase exploration programs, which planning for is already well underway,” Global Lithium managing director Jamie Wright said.

“Our strategy of stepping out from Archer to test the broader area has given us confidence that mineralisation at the MBLP continues to extend beyond Archer and has now been traced for over six kilometres in a north-to-south strike direction, and remains open, including to the east and potentially into our newly acquired tenements.”






Blackstone Minerals Swimming Upstream at Ban Phuc

COMMODITY CAPERS: Blackstone Minerals (ASX: BSX) recently reported some of the best broad DSS drilling intersections encountered to date at the Ban Phuc deposit within the company’s Ta Khoa nickel–copper-PGE project in Northern Vietnam.

Blackstone Minerals reported the drilling had hit a 375 metres nickel sulphide intersection to further demonstrate the large bulk tonnage potential of the Ban Phuc disseminated (DSS) deposit.

Drilling from Ban Phuc included:

374.7 metres at 0.3 per cent nickel, 0.01 per cent copper, 0.01 per cent cobalt and 0.07g/t PGE from 2m, including 49m at 0.45 per cent nickel, 0.04 per cent copper, 0.01 per cent cobalt and 0.17g/t PGE from 2m;

The Ban Phuc DSS deposit is anticipated to underpin the Upstream Business Unit (UBU) PFS due later this calendar year.

Completion of the final infill drilling program is aimed at increasing the confidence of the existing JORC resource of:
Indicated Mineral Resource of 44.3 million tonnes at 0.52 per cent nickel for 229,000 tonnes nickel; and
Inferred Mineral Resource of 14.3 million tonnes at 0.35 per cent nickel for 50,000 tonnes nickel.

“The high tenor of results from the final infill drilling program increases the confidence of the resource at Ban Phuc, and the mine plan that will underpin Blackstone’s UBU PFS,” Blackstone Minerals managing director Scott Williamson said.

“In the relatively short amount of time since acquiring the Ta Khoa nickel-copper-PGE project, Blackstone has been able to define a large, disseminated sulphide deposit which considerably adds to the security of supply for the company’s vertically integrated downstream refinery.”

Blackstone followed this up by announcing the appointment of leading independent advisors to arrange debt financing for the development of the vertically integrated Ta Khoa nickel-copper-PGE project and Downstream Refinery project (Ta Khoa Project).

The Korea Development Bank (KDB) and BurnVoir Corporate Finance (BurnVoir) will act jointly and in collaboration with Blackstone to secure an attractive, flexible funding package for the development of the Ta Khoa project.

“KDB and BurnVoir bring their respective strengths across the lithium-ion battery value chain, including strong relationships with potential customers of the Ta Khoa Downstream Refinery,” Williamson said.

“Both KDB and BurnVoir have extensive experience in arranging development funding for quality projects, and their involvement in the Ta Khoa project is an endorsement of Blackstone’s strategy and ability to execute.”







Delorean Corporation on a Trip to The Future.

COMMODITY CAPERS: Delorean Corporation (ASX: DEL) is a bioenergy company specialising in the design, build, ownership and management of bioenergy infrastructure and associated power generation and retail.

The company combines a group of four vertically-integrated companies working together to deliver each stage of the bioenergy generation process.

Delorean Energy

Is an infrastructure development and management company specialising in bioenergy plants using mature technology anaerobic digestion systems.

Delorean Energy retains the in-house capability to take development projects from concept to planning approval, investment and financial structuring to building owning and operating these assets.


Biogass Renewables

Is claimed by the corporation to be Australia’s leading bioenergy infrastructure construction company specialising the design, build, commissioning and operation of anaerobic digestion infrastructure.


Cleantech Energy

Is an established energy retailer with licenses to operate in the national market.



Is a fabrication contractor that manufactures tanks, pipework and structural steel. Tekpro specialises in IP in stainless steel double-bunded tanks for liquid storage and mixing.


Delorean Corporation recently acquired 100 per cent of the Salisbury bioenergy project, which will process commercial and industrial organic food and agricultural waste to deliver 150 terajoules per annum of biomethane into the gas distribution network in Adelaide under an offtake agreement with Origin Energy/AGIG.

The project is expected to be the first in Australia to achieve the ‘green gas to mains’ milestone.

Delorean Corporation managing director Joe Oliver said.
“We are excited to have full ownership of the project so we can complete FID and progress to construction with certainty in a timeline that we can control.

“Renewable gas is key in decarbonising the gas network and we are pleased to be pioneering this with a project at commercial scale in Australia.”







Balkan Mining and Minerals Seeks Serbian Lithium

COMMODITY CAPERS: Balkan Mining and Minerals (ASX: BMM) is eager to demonstrate to the investment community that not all lithium deposits are found in Western Australia.

Balkan Mining listed in July spouting exploration intentions focused on the early-stage exploration through to development of borate and associated lithium in the Balkans.

The company’s projects comprise the Rekovac, Dobrinja and Pranjani lithium-borate projects, all of which are located within the Republic of Serbia.

Soon after listing, Balkan commenced its 2021 exploration season at its Rekovac lithium–borate project, located in the Vardar Zone of Serbia.

The field season will involve detailed LithoFacies mapping of the license area, measuring magnetic susceptibility and bulk density over the length of the Rekovac diamond drill core.

Other work is to include detailed geophysics including gravity and ground magnetic surveying.

The company considers the mapping program important to providing greater understanding of lateral extensions that were previously identified, the permissive lacustrine boratiferous sequences and the closely demarcate areas with evaporate occurrences at surface.

These results will be used to guide in the effective selection of drilling locations.

In conjunction with the mapping program, Balkan is undertaking measurement of magnetic susceptibility and bulk density over the existing drill core.

This data will be used to facilitate the precise interpretation of the geophysical survey, which is planned to commence in the first week of September 2021.

Once contract terms are finalised, Balkan anticipates commencing its drilling campaign, which is planned for late September 2021.

“Following our successful listing the Balkan team has wasted no time in commencing exploration work on our Serbian lithium-borate projects,” Balkan Mining and Minerals managing director Ross Cotton said.

“Serbia is an exciting location for mineral exploration which has been demonstrated by the significant investment from a number of the world’s leading mining groups.

“Previous drilling conducted by Jadar Resources Limited has provided a valuable starting point for our exploration activities, it’s now a matter of building on this foundation to identify targets for higher-grade zones of mineralisation.

“We are committed to building strong local relationships and we have continued to bolster our in-country team who share our vision of creating shareholder value through co-operation, commitment and hard work.”








Neometals JV to Fund Battery Recycling Plant to Commercialisation

COMMODITY CAPERS: Neometals (ASX: NMT) and its German Joint Venture partner SMS group GmbH are to fast-track their Primobius JV to commercial operations and by doing so should be able to offer battery recycling services in Q1 2022.

Neomtals was one of the early Western Australian lithium cohort to recognise the opportunity that was to come as global reliance on lithium-ion batteries (LiBs) took off.

It’s no secret that LIB demand has grown at a rapid pace, one that is increasing due to the electric vehicle, energy storage and portable electronics markets.

What has also grown in this time is the waste created by end of life and scrap batteries, which poses a tremendous environmental challenge.

Globally LIB demand is already up 25 per cent with 15 million tonnes of LIBs forecast to be discarded from 2020 to 2030.

LiBs are hazardous to people and the environment when not disposed of appropriately.

Thankfully far-sighted regulators are seriously looking at battery recycling, and in many jurisdictions making it mandatory.

To meet such requirements, Primobius emerged as a Joint Venture partnership between Neometals and private German plant manufacturer, SMS group, with the aim of commercialising an environmentally friendly recycling solution for end-of-life and scrap LiB cells.

Primobius has a sustainability ethos, designing its advanced recycling solution to integrate into the circular economy, promoting the elimination of waste and the continual use of resources as well as reducing the need for primary resources.

Primobius’ advanced recycling process with low CO2 emissions delivers high purity chemicals back to the battery manufacturing sector.

Using a unique proprietary process, cobalt and other valuable materials are recovered from waste LiBs.

Source: Neometals ASX announcement.

This week the JV partners announced they intend to fund the fast-track commercialisation of Primobius’ commercial LIB recycling operations.

This will entail expanding the current demonstration plant (DP) in Hilchenbach Germany and build up operational capacity to provide a 10 tonnes per day battery disposal recycling service in Q1 2022.

This ‘Shredder Plant’ will generate early revenue from the sale of intermediate active materials, known as Black Mass, and set a market reference for operational capability.

Showcase DP trials currently underway will provide data for upcoming engineering and feasibility studies to develop a 50tpd (20,000tpa) integrated (Shredding and Hydrometallurgical Refining) German LIB recycling operation.

Neometals believes this development to fast-track commercial shredding operations is a positive move to keep pace with a rapidly developing industry searching for immediate sustainable recycling solutions.

“We are excited to herald the entry of Primobius into the commercial European battery recycling landscape,” Neometals managing director Chris Reed said.

“The funding approval is an agile response by the JV shareholders to strong demand for the safe disposal of growing volumes of lithium-ion batteries arising from warranty returns and at end-of-life.

“10 tonnes per day Shredding Plant 1 represents the maximum commitment we can make to meet demand having regard to regulatory permitting timeline constraints.

“As well as being a showcase for potential customers and partners, the facility will provide a valuable training ground for the operations team and will support continuous process improvement ahead of the next scale up to a 50 tonnes per day operation.

“The scale and speed of the electrification of transport and renewable energy storage is phenomenal, the volumes and momentum of global investment funds available to support enablers of decarbonisation steel our resolve for Primobius to become the pre-eminent recycler in the western world.”








Auroch Minerals Sharpens Nickel Exploration Focus

COMMODITY CAPERS: Auroch Minerals (ASX: AOU) boasts ownership of a highly prospective nickel sulphide portfolio located within the Goldfields region of Western Australia.

The portfolio includes the Saints, Leinster and Nepean nickel projects, all located in the Norseman-Wiluna Greenstone Belt, which has demonstrated itself to be a top-quality address for discovery of nickel sulphide mineralisation.

The Nepean project lies approx. 25 kilometres south of Coolgardie and contains the historic high-grade Nepean nickel sulphide mine, which was the second producing nickel mine in Australia, producing 1,108,457 tons of ore between 1970 and 1987 for 32,202 tons of nickel metal at an average recovered grade of 2.99 per cent nickel.

A recent three-hole diamond program was undertaken at Nepean in May this year, drilling into known shallow high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation directly south of the historic Nepean nickel mine.

The drilling returned results that confirmed the high-grade and high tenor nature of the modelled near-surface nickel sulphide mineralisation, including:

4.64 metres at 2.99 per cent nickel and 0.13 per cent copper from 71.58m.

“We continue to be amazed by the nickel sulphide mineralisation at Nepean,” Auroch Minerals managing director Aidan Platel said.

“The high nickel grades seen in the net-textured sulphide mineralisation in hole NPDD007 which historically was referred to as the `triangular ore zone’ mineralisation is testament to the high nickel tenor (nickel content in the sulphides) of Nepean, and highlights how we can potentially achieve very high-grade nickel intersections from zones of relatively little sulphides, which has huge implications for how we go about exploring the 10 kilometres of potential strike at Nepean, as well as for the upcoming Nepean Deeps drill program.”

Meanwhile, Auroch has also been busy at the Leinster project where RC and diamond drilling produced pleasing results from the Woodwind, Firefly and Brass prospects.

The dual phase first-pass drill program consisted of five high priority diamond drill-holes drilled in March and April, followed by nine RC holes drilled in May and June.

Recent assay results included:

8m at 0.45 per cent nickel from 19m;

5m at 0.30 per cent nickel from 66m and 4m at 0.30 per cent nickel from 80m;

7m at 0.40 per cent nickel from 52m;

2m at 0.50 per cent nickel from 30m;

1m at 0.56 per cent nickel from 159m;

1m at 0.45 per cent nickel from 41m; and

4m at 0.30 per cent nickel from 251m.

“This new round of assay results from the recent drilling at the Leinster project further highlights the high prospectivity of the recently-identified trend of fertile ultramafics to the north of the known shallow high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation at the Horn prospect and justify follow-up exploration efforts as we attempt to vector in on potential new discoveries of significant nickel sulphide mineralisation,” Platel said.

“Two DHEM conductors identified by the first phase of drilling provide high-priority walk-up drill targets that we will test with our next drilling campaign at Leinster planned for later this quarter.

“In addition to our evolving exploration programs and targets at Leinster, we are looking forward to commencing the high impact Nepean Deeps diamond drill program…at our Nepean nickel project, which aims to test for possible extensions to the known high-grade nickel sulphide mineralisation below the historic mine workings.

“We are also looking to finalise access and approvals for RC drilling at the priority Ragless Range zinc target at the Arden project in South Australia. With major drill programs and ongoing exploration over multiple projects scheduled for the next few months, it is an exciting time for the company and its shareholders.”






Charger Metals Energised to Commence Exploration Activities

COMMODITY CAPERS: Charger Metals (ASX: CHR) wasted no time at all after listing in July this year before announcing it had identified a new lithium target at the company’s Lake Johnston lithium and gold project in Western Australia.

Charger Metals listed with the Lake Johnston project already including the Medcalf spodumene discovery and much of the Mount Day lithium caesium tantalum (LCT) pegmatite field.

The region is one that has attracted considerable interest for rare metal LCT Pegmatite mineralisation due to its proximity to the large Earl Grey lithium deposit (owned by Wesfarmers Limited and SQM of Chile), located approximately 70 kilometres west of this project.

An immediate soil geochemistry survey at the Lake Johnston project identified a substantial lithium anomaly in a previously untested area of E63/1903.

The anomaly demonstrated coincident lithium, caesium, and rubidium the company interpreted to be suggestive of the presence of a lithium-caesium-tantalum pegmatite.

“Soil geochemistry is often the first activity in a new area, leading the geological investigation process for a new prospect,” Charger Metals managing director David Crook said.

“It is very gratifying that Charger Metals has been rewarded with an anomaly at Lake Johnston from the first soil program since listing in an emerging lithium province.”

Charger also has a 70 per cent interest in the Bynoe lithium and gold project in the Northern Territory, within the Litchfield Pegmatite Field.

The area has a history of tin mining and is demonstrably prospective for tantalum and alkali metals including spodumene.

The Bynoe project is surrounded by the large tenement holdings of Core Lithium’s (ASX: CXO) Finnis lithium project, which is at a very advanced stage of development having had completed a definitive Feasibility Study in April 2019.

Charger has commenced field activities at Bynoe with a field crew mobilised to expand mapping and geochemical sampling.

Fourteen pegmatite anomalies have been identified within a five-kilometre-long zone from existing geochemistry.

Presently 50 per cent of the tenement remains yet to have been geochemically sampled.

A detailed aeromagnetic survey scheduled to be flown by the end of August.

“Charger Metal’s programs of mapping, geochemistry and aero-magnetics now underway at the Bynoe lithium project are designed to refine the five-kilometre-long cluster of lithium targets to a point where a substantial drilling program can be planned,” Crook said.







NickelX Kick Starts Albany Fraser Belt Exploration

COMMODITY CAPERS: NickelX (ASX: NKL) is exploring for high-grade Nova-type magmatic nickel-copper deposits, as well as large scale Tropicana-type structural gold deposits in the Albany Fraser Belt, located in Western Australia.

NickelX owns 100 per cent-interest in its six granted Exploration Licenses at the Biranup project in the Albany Fraser Orogen, including numerous high priority targets at Fire Dragon, Silver Dragon, Black Dragon and Red Dragon, as well as additional priority targets which comprise the projects.

The company listed on the ASX in May with a IPO-funded bank account balance of $7 million to fund exploration programs, which it wasted little time commencing.

The company is implementing systematic work programs at the Biranup project, including a diamond drilling program partly funded by the WA Government, where it is looking for massive sulphides over well-defined and strong conductors at Fire Dragon.

Previous work at the Biranup project had identified more than 20 EM conductors, including four high priority targets that NickelX considers highly prospective for magmatic nickel-copper mineralisation.

The high priority Fire Dragon nickel target has been the subject of an AEM survey, ground MLEM survey and very limited drilling by previous explorers, which intersected semi-massive to massive sulphides (including pentlandite and chalcopyrite), from a limited four-hole program.

The MLEM surveys were designed to better define the four targets that had been identified from a SPECTREM AEM survey flown by previous explorers that NickelX had reprocessed by Southern Geoscience Consultants.

Three first order conductivity targets (FD1, FD2 and FD4) were followed up by MLEM surveys to test the conductivity anomalies and define targets for drill testing.

The MLEM conductive anomalies detected at FD1, FD2 and FD4, implying basement sources with preliminary modelling on FD1 suggesting a conductor located down dip of previously identified EM conductors at Fire Dragon.

Drilling now underway includes 2 PHASES of diamond and diamond with RC pre-collars to test for nickel-copper sulphides at Fire Dragon and FD1 based on current data, while a wider PHASE 2 program of diamond and diamond with RC pre-collars is planned to test for nickel-copper sulphides at Fire Dragon, FD1, FD2, FD4 and Silver Dragon and to test for structural Gold at Black Dragon that will be based on completion of modelling from the recent EM surveys and results from PHASE 1.

“We’re pleased to have…secured a Diamond Rig for our PHASE 1 and PHASE 2 drilling programs at Fire Dragon (Nickel Copper), Silver Dragon (Nickel Copper) and Black Dragon (Gold), for what will be the only comprehensive and systematic drill program on highly prospective targets, identified by the NickelX team’s data review and recently successful EM surveys,” NickelX Managing Director Matt Gauci said.