Another sulphuric acid plant flagged

Newly formed company SMAC Development has designs for another sulphuric acid plant in the north.

The plans include a common user facility including an acid plant, near Cloncurry.

The outputs of the facility would include copper, cobalt sulphate, nickel sulphate, zinc and sulphuric acid, according to SMAC managing director Hamish Collins, who was former managing director and CEO of AEON Metals.

SMAC intends to undertake a feasibility study based on taking concentrate from Aeon Metal’s Walford Creek copper-cobalt project to feed a SMAC-built process facility.

The Walford Creek project is around 340km north-north-west of Mount Isa.

SMAC Developments had signed a MOU with Aeon metals, ‘with the intention to negotiate for the sale and purchase of a bulk concentrate to be produced by Aeon within the Walford Creek area,’ Mr Collins said.

If successful, the proposal would help meet the region’s significant sulphuric acid needs, as well as producing substantial amounts of critical minerals.

This includes the sulphuric acid required for the proposed vanadium developments near Julia Creek as well as copper oxide leach projects in North-West Queensland. 

With the planned closure of the Glencore copper smelter in 2030, and its likely impact on the local acid supply, development of a SMAC common-user-facility would provide certainty for current businesses and future projects, Mr Collins said. 

Cloncurry was the perfect location for the plant due to its proximity to current and planned infrastructure, including the CopperString project, he said.

Mr Collins – formerly managing director of Aeon Metals established SMAC in December along with former Aeon Metals colleagues Dan Johnson and Daryl Midgley.

They previously founded Fetch Metals, which acquired Queensland Mining Corporation – owner of the White Range copper project – in 2021 for $52 million. 

The team sold their stake in Fetch in November 2023 and has been focusing on SMAC.

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