Mitsubishi weighs investment in WA metals project

Staff reporter

ASX-listed Chalice Mining aims to formalise a development alliance with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation for its proposed A$1.6 billion-plus Gonneville metals project next year after this week signing a memorandum of understanding on advancing the project’s pre-feasibility study.

They have agreed to “good faith discussions around entering into formal arrangements within 90 days of completion of the PFS”, slated for completion in mid-2025. The MoU is non-exclusive.

Chalice finished a scoping study on Gonneville, 70km north-east of WA capital, Perth, last year after outlining resources containing an estimated 17 million ounces of 3E (palladium, platinum and gold), 960,000 tonnes of nickel, 540,000t of copper and 96,000t of cobalt. The 3E resources host an estimated 13Moz palladium.

The PFS is looking at development options that include “high-grade, staged openpit and underground starter cases” focused on sulphide resources of 59 million tonnes grading an average 2 grams per tonne 3E, 0.2% nickel, 0.21% copper and 0.019% cobalt and reported to contain 2.9Moz of palladium (3.8Moz PE), 120,000t of nickel, 120,000t of copper and 11,000t of cobalt.

Chalice has a current market value around A$470 million.

Tokyo-headquartered Mitsubishi Corp is a circa-US$87 billion industrial group with global energy and metals investments including tier-one copper, iron ore, metallurgical coal, aluminium, lithium and nickel mine stakes in Australia, Chile and Peru.

“Both parties intend to have good faith discussions around entering into formal arrangements within 90 days of completion of the PFS, albeit with no obligation on either side to agree to binding terms,” Chalice said in a statement.

“The MOU gives Chalice and Mitsubishi time to collaborate and align more closely on key project development parameters such as determining the optimal flowsheet and product mix, which will be the primary driver of project scale, staging and development plan currently being refined through the PFS.”

Chalice CEO Alex Dorsch said Mitsubishi’s involvement in Gonneville followed about 12 months of discussions and extensive due diligence by the Japanese group.

“From the outset of the strategic process, Mitsubishi was always considered one of the most impressive and best suited strategic partners for the Gonneville project based on its decades-long development, operational and trading track record,” Dorsch said.

“In the context of key ongoing PFS workstreams and optimisations, the MOU structure is favourable, as it provides a framework for collaboration for both parties during the PFS and allows for the progression and de-risking of the project prior to having good faith discussions around a potential joint arrangement and investment following the completion of the PFS.”

Chalice is targeting late 2026 for a final investment decision on Gonneville.


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