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Australian Mines will sharpen its focus on its $1.4 billion Sconi project in 2020, with plans to close an office in New South Wales as it continues to pursue the North Queensland development.

Managing director and chief executive officer Benjamin Bell issued a business update in the lead-up to the company’s November 19 AGM.

“The primary focus for Australian Mines during the 2020 financial year will be securing a binding offtake agreement and project finance for the Sconi project,” he said.

“Our priorities for the development of Sconi in FY2020 include pre-construction work on shared-used infrastructure and further investment in the local communities in North Queensland.

“Regular liaison with representatives of the Queensland Government will be continued to maximise the benefits of Sconi having ‘Prescribed Project’ status, which will facilitate the smooth and methodical development of the mine site.”

Mr Bell said the company’s Flemington project in New South Wales had the potential to host a nationally important cobalt resource.

However, following completion of a drilling campaign last month, Australian Mines does not plan further work there in the 2020 calendar year as it advances Sconi.

“A recognition of the focus on our North Queensland operations is the closure of our regional office in Parkes in New South Wales in 2020, ” Mr Bell said.

He said Australian Mines was confident the successful development of Sconi would position it at the forefront of the battery materials industry and allow the company to take advantage of the global demand for nickel and cobalt.

“Despite some short-term headwinds in the battery metals sector, Australian Mines is committed to the EV (electric vehicle) sector and its anticipated growth over the medium and longer term,” he said.

Mr Bell said the release of the Sconi Bankable Feasibility Study last financial year clearly demonstrated the commercial case for developing what was a Tier 1 cobalt, nickel and scandium asset. 

Sconi centre stage in 2020