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Barra Resources: Mount Thirsty JV to provide secure cobalt supply

Mt Thirsty hasnow assumed the mantle of Australia’s most advanced genuine cobalt project with a completed pre-feasibility study (PFS). The joint ventur...

Daniel Brightmore
|Feb 20|magazine22 min read

Mt Thirsty has now assumed the mantle of Australia’s most advanced genuine cobalt project with a completed pre-feasibility study (PFS). 

The joint venture between Barra Resources and Conico is showing a cobalt-nickel value split of 71%-29%.

Barra’s Managing Director & CEO and MTJV PFS Manager Sean Gregory commented: “This study is the culmination of 18 months’ work by the MTJV. I am confident that the PFS has been completed to a very high standard by global engineering houses that will stand up to the most detailed scrutiny from potential project partners. 

“We are now looking forward to engaging with these large global firms who are eager to secure a guaranteed sustainable source of cobalt for electric vehicle batteries.” 


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  • Hydrometallurgical process is at atmospheric pressure and 70-90oC utilising sulphur dioxide (SO2) as the main reagent. 
  • Project scaled up to 1.8 Mdtpa feed rate. 
  • 19.1kt of cobalt and 24.8kt of nickel as a Mixed Sulphide Product (MSP) will be produced over a 12-year mine life.
  • Maiden JORC 2012 Probable Ore Reserve of 18.8 Mdt at 0.13% cobalt and 0.54% nickel estimated for the project.
  • Additional 1.8Mdt (<10%) of Inferred Mineral Resources scheduled. There is a low level of confidence associated with inferred mineral resources and there is no certainty that further exploration will result in the determination of indicated mineral resources or that the production target itself will be realised. 
  • Positive economics returned with a pre-tax NPV of AUS$44.4mn (AUS$25.7mn post-tax).
  • Capital Expenditure of AUS$371mn including 10% indirects, 9% growth, 4% owner’s costs, and 10% contingency. 
  • All in Sustaining Costs of US$35,400/t contained cobalt.
  • Cobalt price forecast to rise by all surveyed investment banks as demand for electric vehicle batteries continues to grow and other cobalt supply growth options limited.
  • The Mt Thirsty Joint Venture (MTJV) has identified the highest value development path to be a farm-in from a large global firm, eager to secure a guaranteed sustainable source of cobalt.
  • The direct project expenditure for the MTJV now reverts to a minimum while the partnering strategy is pursued as planned. 
  • The MTJV is now re-engaging with several major Australian and international mining, trading and refining firms who have all identified a high quality PFS as their minimum investment criteria.

Mt Thirsty JV