The Dow Chemical Co. has signed a consulting and supply agreement with Metals Finance Ltd. (MFC) of Queensland, Australia, a company which provides financing and production services to small- or medium-sized mining and mineral companies. MFC’s Lucky Break nickel project in Queensland will be used as the pilot for identifying process improvements which may be applicable to the treatment of nickel laterite projects on a global basis.

As part of the agreement, Dow Water & Process Solutions, a business unit of Dow Chemical, will provide expertise, technical and process engineering support for the use of its Ion Exchange Resin (IER) PLS separations technology at the Lucky Break ore site. The effort may also cover other lateritic nickel projects that MFC develops in the future, including the Barnes Hill project in Tasmania.

“We are pleased to team with MFC to develop value creating solutions for the mining industry,” said Yulee Newsome, global business development manager, Dow Water & Process Solutions. “Dow is committed to innovation, and Dow continues this commitment by providing advanced IER PLS separation technology that allows our customers to develop answers for mining challenges while improving their bottom line.”

Tony Treasure, managing director, MFC, said, “This agreement is the first step in developing a long-term, strategic relationship between MFC and Dow. We have been working closely with Dow for some time now on project feasibility studies including Lucky Break and the Palabora nickel sulphate project in South Africa.”

MFC has an agreement with Metallica Minerals, owner of the Lucky Break tenements west of Townsville, Queensland, Australia, to determine the feasibility of operating the mine and associated processing plant. MFC has detailed the engineering work, found sources for the equipment and is seeking to secure funding. According to MFC, the project could be in full production within a year of receiving approval.