Critical minerals are metals and non-metals that are considered vital for the economic well-being of the world's major and emerging economies, yet whose supply may be at risk due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues, trade policy or other factors. Among these important minerals are metals and semi-metals used in the manufacture of mobile phones, flat screen monitors, wind turbines, electric cars, solar panels, and many other high-tech applications.
The minerals ranked as most critical by the United States, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the European Union including the United Kingdom, are as follows (ranked by Geoscience Australia based on synthesis of individual country rankings):
Rare-earth elements (REE), gallium (Ga), indium (In), tungsten (W), platinum-group elements (PGE) including platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd), cobalt (Co), niobium (Nb), magnesium (Mg), molybdenum (Mo), antimony (Sb), lithium (Li), vanadium (V), nickel (Ni), tantalum (Ta), tellurium (Te), chromium (Cr) and manganese (Mn).
Ardea’s Project portfolio is abundant with the key minerals which are sources of Ni, Co, Au, Sc and REE.
Nickel and Cobalt - Kalgoorlie Nickel Project including the Goongarrie Nickel Cobalt Project
- Nickel and cobalt are critical components of lithium ion batteries ensuring high energy density and chargeability.
- Higher nickel and cobalt levels in lithium ion batteries gives Electrified Vehicles greater range and faster recharge times.
- The battery industry requires the metals specifically as soluble hydrated sulphates to be suitable for the cathode manufacturing process.
- Purity of the sulphate product is key to produce high-quality batteries. PFS bench-scale sulphate production confirms that Ardea has the flowsheet to deliver highest-purity nickel and cobalt sulphate products.
- Lithium ion battery usage is expected to increase markedly as Electrified Vehicle demand takes off.
Sc and REE are like to be produced as by-products of the Ni and Co mining and processing at Goongarrie.
- Rare-earth elements (REEs) are used as components in high technology devices, including smart phones, digital cameras, computer hard disks, fluorescent and light-emitting-diode (LED) lights, flat screen televisions, computer monitors, and electronic displays.
- Scandium (Sc) is used in aluminium-scandium alloys for high strength, light weight aerospace industry components and for sports equipment such as bicycle frames, fishing rods, golf iron shafts and baseball bats.
- Scandium iodide is used in mercury vapor lamps, which are used to replicate sunlight in studios for the film and television industry.
Gold (Au) mineralisation is associated with major crustal scale geological structures within the Kalgoorlie Nickel Project tenements such as the Bardoc Tectonic Zone, Mount Monger/Goddard Fault, Keith Kilkenny Lineament and Laverton Tectonic Zone. All of these structures are responsible for hosting millions of ounces of gold within the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.
- Gold has unique physical chemical characteristics that made it very valuable. Gold is the most maleable and ductile of all the metals.
- Gold has the highest corrosion resistance of all the metals and it is corroded only by a mixture of nitric and hydrocloric acid. Gold is a noble metal because it does not oxidize.
- Throughout history, gold has been seen as a special and valuable commodity. Today, owning gold can act as a hedge against inflation and deflation alike, as well as a good portfolio diversifier.
- As a global store of value, gold can also provide financial cover during geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty.