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Ardea, Sumitomo Metal Mining (SMM) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) to form a Joint Venture to develop the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project (KNP) – Goongarrie Hub

Chapter One Advisors 4 mins read
Managing Director and CEO of Ardea, Andrew Penkethman


Strategic Partners selected for the globally significant KNP – Goongarrie Hub located in the tier 1 mining jurisdiction of WA.
• Ardea has executed a binding Cooperation Agreement to form a 50:50 incorporated JV with SMM and MC (Consortium) which represents a significant Critical Minerals Collaboration.
• The Consortium will fund 100% of the DFS costs up to the agreed budget of approximately A$98.5 million and assist KNPL in optimising debt financing to earn an ultimate 50% interest in the JV, with Ardea retaining the other 50%.
• The Transaction is subject to conditions precedent including FIRB approval and the execution of a binding Shareholders' Agreement.
• In addition, Ardea, SMM and KNPL have agreed on funding support arrangements allowing DFS activities to continue in Q2 2024.
• Transaction completion is expected prior to the end of Q3 2024.

Ardea Resources Limited (Ardea or the Company) is pleased to announce it has entered into a binding Cooperation Agreement with Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd (SMM) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) (Consortium) to form a 50:50 incorporated joint venture (JV) to develop the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project (KNP) – Goongarrie Hub. The incorporated JV vehicle will be Kalgoorlie Nickel Pty Ltd (KNPL), which is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Ardea.

The Cooperation Agreement sets out the terms and conditions on which the Consortium, Ardea and KNPL will fund and conduct the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS), and upon agreement by the parties and subject to a positive DFS outcome, Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) and Pre-Commitment Activities (PCA), leading to a Final Investment Decision (FID) on the KNP – Goongarrie Hub.

Separately to the Cooperation Agreement, Ardea, SMM and KNPL have agreed on funding support arrangements, enabling earlier DFS activities to occur in Q2 2024.

This Transaction represents the successful conclusion of Ardea’s Strategic Partner process and is a major milestone for the development of the KNP – Goongarrie Hub into a globally significant nickel-cobalt operation.

SMM is a pre-eminent Japanese nickel-cobalt laterite development and production company, operating the Coral Bay and Taganito HPAL nickel operations in the Philippines and the Niihama Nickel Refinery and Harima Refinery in Japan. MC is one of Japan’s largest and premier general trading and investment companies with decades of experience in investing in the Australian resources sector.

Ardea, Sumitomo Metal Mining, Mitsubishi Corporation Execute Cooperation Agreement Managing Director and CEO of Ardea, Andrew Penkethman, noted:

"The Ardea team have been focused on aligning the Company with the best possible strategic partners to assist in realising the full potential of the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project – Goongarrie Hub. Sumitomo Metal Mining and Mitsubishi Corporation are high quality partners that can bring leading expertise to continue to drive the project forward.

Sumitomo Metal Mining is a leader in developing and operating nickel laterite projects and is fully integrated within both the stainless steel and lithium-ion battery sectors. Mitsubishi Corporation has decades of resources sector experience within Australia and has been a significant investor and contributor to the Australian economy.

Ardea acknowledges Japan as a well-respected partner of Australia and looks forward to being part of the growing relationship between the two nations, as they progress their commitment to the global energy transition. This is especially relevant with nickel and cobalt classified as Critical Minerals by both nations.

Once in production, the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project – Goongarrie Hub is expected to be one of the largest nickel-cobalt producers in Australia. The project will meet the high ESG standards expected from modern society and be a leader in responsible resource project development, as demonstrated by Ardea’s 2023 Pre-Feasibility Study.

I would like to thank Ardea Shareholders and stakeholders for their continued support as we have been undertaking the KNP – Goongarrie Hub Strategic Partner process. The completion of the Goongarrie Hub Strategic Partner process would not have been possible without the significant input from the Ardea team, advisers and key service providers. Their contributions are acknowledged and appreciated.”

Masaru Takebayashi, Director and Managing Executive Officer and General Manager of Non-Ferrous Metals Div. of SMM noted:

“Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation are pleased to formalise this cooperation agreement with Ardea in relation to the high-quality Kalgoorlie Nickel Project - Goongarrie Hub. We look forward to working collaboratively with the Ardea team to leverage our complementary skills and capabilities to advance this major Critical Minerals project in a manner which meets the high ESG standards expected from modern society.”

Hon. David Michael MLA, the Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum noted:

“The Cook Government welcomes the commitment from Ardea and Japanese companies – Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation – to form a strategic joint venture partnership to develop the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project at the Goongarrie Hub.

Nickel is recognised as a critical mineral in Australia and is key commodity in products essential for globaldecarbonisation efforts. The Western Australian Government congratulates all parties involved in the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project and lookforward to the DFS progressing".

Hon. Madeleine King MP, the Federal Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia noted:

"I congratulate everyone involved in this agreement - including Ardea Resources, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Corporation and the joint venture vehicle, Kalgoorlie Nickel Pty Ltd.

The Kalgoorlie Nickel Project – Goongarrie Hub is a great example of collaboration between Australia and Japan of the strong enduring partnership between our two countries.

This is a globally significant nickel-cobalt project that shows how Australian nickel projects can succeed economically, while also meeting the world’s best environment, social and governance standards.

I look forward to this project going from strength to strength as both Australia and Japan work towards the global energy transition.

The road to net zero runs through Australia’s resources sector."

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Contact details:

David Tasker
T: 0433 112 936


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