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Altilium to promote sustainable nickel extraction in Indonesia

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Global Mining Review,

Booming demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and insufficient investment in processing looks likely to result in a global shortage of the metals needed to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, especially nickel. Indeed, global demand for nickel is set to increase dramatically over the next 20 years.

Against this backdrop, British company Altilium Group has announced an agreement with PT Indo Mineral Research, a member of the Sebuku Group, one of Indonesia’s largest mining groups, to co-operate in the development and promotion of the DNi Process™ in Indonesia, the country with the world’s largest reserves of nickel. The two companies have agreed to commit financial, technical, and logistical resources to accelerate the adoption of the DNi Process and to play a key role in the EV battery supply chain.

Discussions are now underway with several parties to construct DNi Process plants in Indonesia, with the first plant likely to deliver at least 20 000 t of nickel in mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP) a year, sufficient nickel and cobalt for the equivalent of around 500 000 and 250 000 lithium-ion batteries, respectively. In addition, the DNi Process is capable of producing additional saleable products such as: hematite, magnesium oxide, aluminium hydroxide, and scandium oxide.

The lack of sensitivity of the DNi Process to ore grade is one feature which has Indonesian resource owners excited. This is because it can treat all the ore in a laterite mine and extracts all the metals available in that ore, such that the economics of the process make the utilisation of low-grade ores both possible and profitable.

DNi Process plants will supply markets around the world. Currently, almost all the hydrometallurgical plants operating in Indonesia, which produce MHP, are Chinese owned or backed HPAL plants which supply the Chinese market.

Chris Gower, CEO of Altilium Group, comments:

“The DNi Process is a win-win for Indonesia, the EV industry and the environment. We are very excited to take this first major step forward with the Sebuku Group. Together, we will help make Indonesia the premier producer of cleaner nickel and other metals which are needed to enable the mass adoption of EVs.”

Yoseph Swamidharma, Chief Research and Development Officer of the Sebuku Group, comments:

“We are delighted to be working with Altilium Group, whose ground-breaking DNi Process will, we believe, help to transform the nickel extraction industry. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership.”

Crucially, the process has already been proven in Australia and endorsed by that country’s highly respected Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The process was tested and proven at a pilot plant located at the CSIRO facility in Waterford, Perth, Western Australia.

The first DNi Process plant, delivering 16 000 t of nickel in MHP, is currently being developed by Queensland Pacific Metals Ltd (QPM) in Australia, with construction expected to commence in April 2022.

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Asian mining news Nickel mining news