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Century mine operator New Century Resources has revealed a new game plan centred on the purchase of the world-class Goro nickel and cobalt mine.

The company this week announced that it had entered a 60-day exclusivity period with Vale to carry out due diligence on Goro and negotiate acquisition of 95 per cent of the shares in Vale Nouvelle Calédonie.

New Century says the successful acquisition of the Goro operation would result in it becoming a major supplier of nickel and non-DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) sourced cobalt for the electric vehicle industry.

The move on the New Caledonian operation comes after New Century and Perth-based mining company IGO Limited last month announced a strategic partnership to allow the collaborative assessment of opportunities within the Century tenements or other mining assets.

It came during a $51.1 million capital raising which saw IGO take an 18.4 per cent stake in New Century Resources for about $27 million.

“New Century is pleased to secure this exclusivity agreement in relation to the potential acquisition of the Goro nickel and cobalt mine,” managing director Patrick Walta said.

“The company is excited to continue to work with Vale on the completion of due diligence and negotiation of formal agreements for the acquisition.

“New Century has been impressed by the VNC site team and also the quality and scale of infrastructure at the Goro mine.

“The current initiatives instituted by VNC to simplify the flowsheet provide strong potential to transform Goro into a sustainable long-life operation and a major global supplier of nickel and non-DRC sourced cobalt.”

The VNC flowsheet simplification plan is targeting transformation of Goro’s cost base to become a sustainable global top-10 nickel and cobalt producer, New Century says.

It would include converting to a low-impurity limonite feed for the HPAL plant and decommissioning the refinery.

This would result in production of a 100 per cent Mixed Hydroxide Product (MHP) – sought after by the electric vehicle industry.

Saprolite ore from the mine would be sold rather than processed on site.