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Australian Mines says it has stepped up funding negotiations for its Sconi battery metals project in North Queensland ‘to progress project construction as soon as possible’.

Managing director Benjamin Bell made the comment in the company’s quarterly report, highlighting the significant milestones achieved over the past few months.

He also spoke of Les Guthrie joining the Australian Mines board next month, describing him as a serious, large project builder who had held leadership roles within global resources companies including BHP Billiton and BG Group.

“His appointment to our board should be taken as a very clear sign of Australian Mines’ unwavering commitment to building the world-class Sconi project and propelling the company towards becoming a major supplier of battery chemicals to the electric vehicle sector within the foreseeable future,” Mr Bell said.

In August the company executed an offtake agreement with SK Innovation for 100 per cent of the cobalt sulphate and nickel sulphate produced from the Sconi project in its first seven years.

“On the back of this agreement, we have deepened our engagement with potential project financiers, both here in Australia and internationally, and are working collaboratively with these parties towards finalising a financing structure that enables us to progress project construction as soon as possible,” Mr Bell said.

“We look forward to providing full details at the appropriate time.

“In addition to our negotiations with potential project financiers, we are continuing to liaise with the Queensland Government and local businesses with the aim of delivering a significant contribution to the local community through providing secure, long term jobs and building shared public-use infrastructure for the local community.”

The quarterly report also highlighted work that Australian Mines is carrying out on ore from two satellite deposits within 115 km of the Sconi project, near Greenvale.

Beneficiation testwork is being undertaken to confirm the potential to add Bell Creek and Minnamoolka ore to the Sconi processing feed.

Testwork on the Bell Creek ore is due for completion by the end of November and the work is expected to begin on Minnamoolka nickel ore early next year.

When combined with the Sconi project’s resource, the cobalt and nickel quantities are estimated to be 738, 359 tonnes of contained nickel and 71, 575 tonnes of contained cobalt.

Australian Mines keen to start Sconi