Note: This story was last updated at 11:37 a.m.
CVMR Corporation and Central America Nickel Incorporated have agreed to concentrate three million tons of ore per year in Guatemala and refine the concentrate in Oak Ridge. The refined products could be used in the aerospace and defense industries, and in the manufacturing of car parts, 3D printing and injection molds, and medical instruments and electronic parts.
“The joint venture expects to generate over $500 million a year (U.S. dollars) after commissioning and ramp up,” said Kamran M. Khozan, chairman and chief executive officer of CVMR Corporation.
The partnership was announced Thursday. See the press release here.
The announcement said CVMR and Central America Nickel, or CAN, will use CVMR’s proprietary chemical vapor metallurgy technology to concentrate the three million tons of ore per year in Guatemala and refine the concentrate in Oak Ridge, through CVMR and from CAN’s Santa Anita property in Guatemala.
In the press release, CVMR said INCO of Canada originally owned the Santa Anita property, and the reserve is considered one of the largest untapped reserves of nickel in the world.
“The property offers the potential for 800 million tons of mineralization in 35 square kilometers,” the press release said. “Its reserves of platinum group of metals and scandium are not revealed yet.”
CVMR is the company that announced in March 2015 that they planned to move company headquarters from Toronto to Oak Ridge, invest $313 million, and add 620 jobs. It was one of the largest non-federal industrial announcements ever made in Oak Ridge.
The company’s plans have changed a bit since then. Seeking to clarify its plans, CVMR in December said it still hopes to build a metal refining facility in Oak Ridge to produce metal powders and “nano materials.” That investment, to be completed in three phases, could cost more than $300 million in the first phase and eventually employ 1,200 to 1,500 engineers and technicians, the company said at the time.
But they will not establish a Center of Excellence focused on research and development of the application of vapor metallurgy technology to an expanding group of elements, CVMR said in a letter late year to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.
In the Thursday announcement, CVMR said its refined products from its partnership with CAN will be in the form of nickel foams with various porosity; Net Shapes used by the aerospace and defense industries, and various nickel, iron, and platinum powders used in the manufacture of car parts, 3D printing and injection molds, medical instruments, and electronic parts, among other products, the press release said.
CVMR describes itself as the leader in the metal refining and manufacturing of metal powders, super alloys, metal 3D printing feed materials, net shapes, and metal parts of high value.
“While the commodity prices have nose dived, metal powders, nano-powders, net shapes, and super alloy prices keep climbing, and have done so with a steady pace in the past 15 years,” CVMR said in the Thursday press release. “The rate of growth in demand for the CVMR products in the past 10 years has been 7.6 percent on average. In fact, it is much higher for some of the specialty products that CVMR produces. CVMR plants operate without any pollution of the air, water, or soil. This is a major attraction for Latin American countries that have had to struggle with massive pollutions by mining and refining companies in recent years.”
The recently established CAN company has been conducting business in Guatemala, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic during the past 14 years through its wholly owned subsidiaries: Nichromet Guatemala S.A., Rio Nickel S.A., and Nichromet Dominica S.A., the press release said.
The company has managed to acquire major nickel/cobalt-bearing deposits throughout Central America, the press release said.
“CAN holds the mineral rights to the Rio Negro property, which is estimated by Cominco Resources to contain 25 million tons at 1.6 percent nickel,” said Pierre Gauthier, president of Central American Nickel. “CAN continues to negotiate the purchase of more properties in Latin America.”
The press release said that funding for this project was secured through a consortium of Canadian and U.S. financial institutions. The joint venture partners have been able to obtain four major off-take agreements for their final products, three years in advance of commissioning of the refinery.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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