Brazilian Nickel begins production at Piauí  nickel-cobalt laterite project

The Piauí project grabbed headlines in 2020 after attracting a $25 million investment from the US government, through one of the proposed mine’s funding partners — battery metals investment company TechMet.

The $60 billion US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) took the equity stake in TechMet as part of a push by former President Donald Trump to reduce the country’s reliance on supply chains dominated by China. 

Annual production guidance for 2022 is 300 tonnes of nickel and 3 tonnes of cobalt and anticipated annual production guidance from 2023 is 1,400 tonnes of nickel and 35 tonnes of cobalt, Brazilian Nickel said.

The operation will provide 215 jobs which have been filled by the residents of the local communities for over 70% of the positions.

 “The production of nickel and cobalt at PNP1000 is a great achievement for the company,” CEO Mike Oxley said in the statement. “We are particularly proud to be bringing online a new stream of critical metals in this current environment where there is a growing need for a secure supply of nickel and cobalt which is required in green technologies, such as electric vehicles and solar panels.”

“I would like to publicly share my enormous appreciation for the great work carried out by the team. Given the global disruptions of the last couple of years, what they have achieved is stunning and I am immensely proud of them, particularly because so many of the team are from the local project area,” Oxley said.

“Through their hard work and dedication, they have shown how the simplicity of the heap leach processes can lead to rapid commissioning and start-up such that the challenge of supplying ever increasing demand for nickel to global markets can be met.”

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