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MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia - 27/12/2012

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(MENAFN - ProactiveInvestors - Australia) Direct Nickel (ASX: DIR), formerly WinTech Group, has secured A7 million in funding through substantial investments by Windward Prospects and the CSIRO which will advance the company's Perth demonstration plant utilising its revolutionary nickel extraction process.

Windward Prospects has signed a subscription agreement to invest up to 5 million for equity at a price of 0.365 per share.

The first 1.85 million of this has been received, with the balance to be subscribed for at the election of Windward as the Perth Direct Nickel (DNi) Process demonstration plant progresses.

The DNi Process is a newly-developed and revolutionary hydrometallurgical process for extracting nickel from laterite deposits.

It is believed to be the first process capable of treating the full laterite profile, from limonitic to saprolitic ores using a single flowsheet.

Meanwhile, the CSIRO and the Australian Government Growth Partnership have committed to provide technical services and a further 2 million to Direct Nickel, which will result in an increase in their shareholding in the company.

Once completed their total investment in Direct Nickel will be as much as 3.5 million.

The services and money are being applied to the construction of the plant at Direct Nickel's Waterford site in Perth, facilitating the transition from laboratory-scale to industrial-scale demonstration of the new processes.

Direct Nickel acquisition

The company has also received all necessary approvals and procedures for the acquisition of all of the outstanding shares in Direct Nickel Pty Limited.

Direct Nickel Pty Limited has now become a wholly owned subsidiary.

DNi Process

The operating expenditure and capital expenditure is less than half those of existing processes because the DNi process does not need high pressures or high temperatures.

The minimum threshold plant size is, at 5,000 tonnes per annum nickel, a fraction of the scale competitors must start from.

The process has been hugely de-risked with the help of technical partners, Teck Resources and the CSIRO, and rigorous testing of the breakthrough reagent recycle process at demonstration scale.

The process is most efficient for extracting nickel from laterites and the first to treat both of the layers that comprise a laterite deposit - meaning much better use of the resource.

It is also environmentally friendly because almost all the reagent is captured and recycled. Tailings also boost plant growth.


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