Alliance Nickel’s NiWest granted federal government major project status

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By Colin Hay - 
Alliance Nickel ASX AXN NiWest major project status designation

Alliance Nickel (ASX: AXN) has welcomed the granting by the Australian government of major project status (MPS) for its NiWest nickel-cobalt project in Western Australia.

Along with the prestige of being designated an MPS, the award assists developers in gaining government support for projects identified as strategically significant with the potential to contribute to the nation’s economic growth and employment opportunities.

Backed by the Major Projects Facilitation Agency (MPFA), MPS projects receive additional support in navigating and co-ordinating federal and state regulatory approvals for a period of three years.

First nickel MPS

NiWest is the first Australian nickel project granted MPS designation since nickel was added to Australia’s critical minerals list in February 2024.

Located near Leonora in WA, NiWest contains one of Australia’s highest-grade undeveloped nickel laterite mineral resources and is targeting annual production of 90,000 tonnes of nickel sulphate and 7,000t of cobalt sulphate.

The project is expected to create approximately 600 jobs during the construction phase and an additional 300 operational jobs.

Important recognition

Alliance Nickel managing director and chief executive officer Paul Kopejtka said NiWest’s MPS grant recognises the project’s potential contribution to Australia’s economic growth and critical minerals industry.

“We are delighted NiWest has been recognised by the Australian government as a project of national significance.”

“[The] MPS will support rapid advancement of the project and comes at an important time for the company as global demand for US Inflation Reduction Act-compliant battery-grade nickel and cobalt grows,” he added.

“We look forward to working closely with relevant ministers, government and industry bodies as we move towards construction.”

Samsung agreement

NiWest’s global value was highlighted in February when Alliance signed a non-binding term sheet with Samsung SDI for the future offtake of battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate products from the project.

Samsung SDI will – subject to final negotiations of the definitive terms and conditions and satisfaction of customary conditions – enter into a binding offtake agreement for an initial period of six years.

The agreement also provided an option for Samsung SDI and Alliance to discuss a potential acquisition by Samsung SDI of an equity interest in a project company to be formed that will hold the NiWest project.

The project is expected to produce approximately 100Ktpa of battery-grade nickel and cobalt sulphate products for the electric vehicle market.

Alliance has completed a pre-feasibility study that confirmed the technical and economic viability of a heap leach and direct solvent extraction operation where it aims to manufacture low-cost, high-quality class 1 nickel and cobalt sulphate for battery manufacturers and automakers.