Independence Group Seeks Patent for Nickel Conversion Process

Independence Group Seeks Patent for Nickel Conversion Process

Independence Group has announced the development of a new process to produce high-quality nickel sulfate from nickel sulfide concentrate.

As part of an update to its downstream nickel sulfate prefeasibility study (PFS), Independence Group (IGO) (ASX:IGO) has announced the development of a new process to produce high-quality nickel sulfate from nickel sulfide concentrate.

According to IGO, the purpose of the PFS is to lock down a “commercially viable” process to convert nickel-cobalt sulfide from its Nova operation to nickel sulfate, a chemical form of nickel that’s a necessary component of lithium-ion batteries. The company has now lodged a patent application for the method, which it has dubbed the IGO Process.

The company claims that metal recoveries from the IGO Process are “extremely high,” with extraction rates exceeding 97 percent of nickel and cobalt metal in Nova’s sulfide concentrate feed.

The process is also considered low cost based on work completed to date, and is more environmentally sustainable than other nickel sulfate production methods due to lower emissions, power consumption and waste generation.

“We have made great progress with our nickel sulfate downstream processing studies. We have achieved high extraction rates for nickel and cobalt, in excess of 97 [percent], and have produced high-quality, battery grade nickel sulfate and saleable copper-cobalt mixed sulfide products,” IGO Managing Director Peter Bradford said in a statement.

“Further work remains to be done to optimize the process design to minimize waste and maximize by-product credits. We also continue to do trade off studies to determine the optimum project location, with key drivers including access and availability of power, water, transportation options, workforce and environment and community considerations.”

As Bradford explained, the company is still working towards optimizing the PFS, which is expected to be completed during the December 2019 quarter.

As of April 1, nickel was trading at US$13,150 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange.

Independence Group’s share price remained unchanged at the end of trading on the ASX on Tuesday (April 2), closing the day at AU$4.92.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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