NRW Holdings’ Primero Group has been contracted to build a lithium processing plant in the Northern Territory and a vanadium electrolyte manufacturing facility in Western Australia.
Primero was awarded with a $40 million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract from Core Lithium associated with its Finnis project near Darwin, about eight months after securing preferred status to build a dense media separation (DMS) plant.
NRW said Primero, which it acquired in March, was fully funded to complete the work.
Site works are expected to start early next year, followed by the plant’s commissioning in October.
“The Primero band is synonymous with the processing and operation of battery metals and future energy and the Core Lithium project is another example of the quality of our processing knowledge in these industries,” Mr Henry said in ASX announcement.
NRW chief executive Jules Pemberton said the group continued to diversify its business streams into the future metals and energy space.
“Through the group’s various business entities, the exposure to differing sectors, commodities, service requirements and pricing cycles, our consistent performance is being realised as an industry peer and continues to grow the NRW brand,” Mr Pemberton said.
The contract comes days after Core Lithium signed a three-year open pit mining services agreement with SA company Lucas Total Contract Solutions.
That followed a $125 million share placement – which included a $34 million investment from offtake partner, China’s Ganfeng Lithium Co – in August, which was allocated to construction works at Finnis.
First production is expected in late 2022.
Core Lithium’s shares were down 2.5 per cent at 3:16pm AEST to trade at 40 cents while NRW was down 0.9 per cent to $1.62.
Separately, Primero has been appointed to undertake the early contractor involvement (ECI) works associated with stage one of Australian Vanadium’s proposed manufacturing facility, to be built near the Port of Geraldton.
The plant will produce vanadium electrolyte to fill vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs), used to make steel as well as store and redeploy renewable energy.
Primero under the ECI contract will also help review potential locations for the plant, which will be the first of its kind in Australia.
Australian Vanadium managing director Vincent Algar said the contract was the next step in the Perth-based company’s integration strategy and goal to developing downstream processing capability in WA.
“We are delighted to be working with Primero on this project, who have a proven track record for delivery of battery minerals projects in Australia and worldwide,” Mr Algar said.
Primero’s Mr Henry said the business was excited to work on the project.
“This will provide a critical link in the supply chain for VRFBs, a growing energy storage solution, and continues the ‘new energy’ and battery materials theme that Primero is well known for,” Mr Henry said.
The contract comes about four months after Australian Vanadium secured a $3.7 million grant from the federal government to support its namesake project, being developed through its VSUN Energy subsidiary.
Australian Vanadium’s shares were down 4.2 per cent at 2:51pm AEST to trade at 2.3 cents.