Chalice Mining has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japan Mitsubishi to collaborate on the Gonneville Platinum Group Element (PGE)-nickel-copper-cobalt project in Western Australia.

This MOU stipulates the joint work of the two companies during the ongoing pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the project, focusing on technical, financing, marketing and offtake aspects.

The companies will explore a potential partnership to develop the Gonneville project, located on Chalice-owned farmland, 70km north-east of Perth.

Fully funded by Chalice, the PFS is expected to be completed by mid-2025.

The MOU is non-exclusive and allows Chalice the flexibility to engage with other potential partners.

Chalice managing director and CEO Alex Dorsch said: “Mitsubishi’s involvement in the Gonneville Project follows extensive due diligence and discussions over the past ~12 months and highlights the longer-term strategic nature and value of the project as a potential large-scale, long-life and low-carbon source of critical minerals for Western markets.

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“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.”

Having access to road, rail, port and power infrastructure nearby, the Gonneville project was staked by Chalice in early 2018 as part of its search for high-potential nickel sulphide exploration opportunities.

Mitsubishi battery minerals office general manager Kota Ikenishi said: “The project has the potential to become a large-scale, globally significant critical minerals asset, and its US IRA-qualifying suite of metals could have a strategic importance for Japan in the future.

“We are excited to work together with Chalice and leverage our complementary skillsets to advance the project as we explore the possibility of formalising a potential long-term partnership.”

In March 2024, Frontier Lithium and Mitsubishi agreed to set up a joint venture to ramp up lithium mining and processing in Ontario, Canada.