AUSTRALIAN nickel producer Western Areas has extended its partnership with China’s largest nickel company, Jinchuan Group, through the signing of a non-binding strategic alliance deed.
The alliance was established to further the relationship between the two companies, which began with a nickel concentrate offtake agreement three years ago.
It will allow the partners to work together to evaluate possible development of global mining opportunities, including exploration and development and, if successful, cooperating right through to the operation phase of base metal projects.
According to Western Areas, the non-exclusive agreement will not involve any upfront contributions, with future contributions limited to the sharing of agreed assessment and due diligence costs for potential projects of mutual interest.
Western Areas managing director Daniel Lougher said furthering the existing relationship would be beneficial to both partners.
“Both companies agree that a logical extension of the relationship should be to assessing global base metal opportunities where this makes sense,” he said. “With this style of alliance, both partners bring different skills and
strengths to the table [and] with Jinchuan, there is a globally significant base metals producer with substantial balance sheet strength, coupled with a long and proud history.
“Western Areas has proven its ability to explore for base metals, execute feasibility studies, develop and operate successful projects; therefore we believe our relative strengths meld well.”