Privately-held Wyloo has become an integrated global nickel business, hallmarked by outbidding BHP for the high-grade Eagle's Nest deposit in Canada's Ring of Fire and becoming a producer through the recent acquisition of Kambalda-based miner Mincor Resources.
Added to its other nickel assets, including a planned downstream processing plant in partnership with IGO, Giacovazzi says Wyloo has put together a unique nickel portfolio that has "the most exciting growth pipeline" and he has not ruled out a future public listing.
"We have really assembled, I think, the world's best nickel projects into a single portfolio," he said.
Wyloo is a company of Tattarang, one of Australia's largest private investment groups chaired by mining entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Andrew Forrest.
Wyloo was formed about five years ago from a desire to play a role in decarbonising the planet, Giacovazzi explains.
"The background story there was Andrew was doing his PhD in marine ecology … and became very passionate about climate change," he said.
"He went head-first into hydrogen and we went head-first into batteries.
"We really picked up that nickel [supply for batteries] was a problem and was required to stop the planet from heating up - or in Andrew's words, from cooking itself."
A supply shortfall has been forecast for nickel, from as early as 2025, given its key role in batteries because it delivers higher energy density and greater storage capacity.
Forrest said Wyloo had targeted nickel sulphides as they were the greenest option for battery manufacturing.
"They have the best economics, can be processed into battery-grade nickel with the lowest environmental footprint and are fully recyclable," he said.
"We are going to give the market a choice between clean nickel and dirty nickel."
Giacovazzi said there was more nickel by weight in a lithium-ion battery than lithium.
"If it was another time, it would be called the nickel-ion battery," Giacovazzi said.
"Not all forms of nickel are made equal, and there's only a specific type of nickel class that can go into a battery and that market really needs to grow to keep up with demand.
"So you're starting to see a lot of the car makers, the OEMs really shift their focus to try to secure long-term supply of nickel."
Assembling unique nickel portfolio
Giacovazzi said Wyloo had gone full circle since making one of its first investments in Mincor in 2018, when the company looked at restarting its mothballed mines.
Wyloo's A$760 million compulsory acquisition of Mincor in July has transformed it into a miner with exploration, development and producing assets in "the three best nickel belts in the world": Kambalda, the Ring of Fire in Ontario and the Cape Smith Belt in Quebec.
Wyloo is also in a relatively unique position, having no requirement for third party capital and being one of the few producing nickel miners with offtake still available.
Giacovazzi said Wyloo was already in discussions with car makers regarding potential future offtake.
Speaking just days after the Kambalda acquisition, Giacovazzi said he was impressed with the skills and talent he had seen in Mincor team, who had achieved a relatively smooth restart on time and budget.
He was even more excited by the mining district's further nickel potential.
While it had produced more than 1.6 million tonnes of nickel over the past 50 years, Giacovazzi said it wasn't mature from an exploration perspective and had been hampered by fragmented ownership in the past.
"I think that's the thing that excites us the most … we can take a very long-term view with our exploration program and really explore this amazing basin properly," he said.
There was also the potential to bring some of Mincor's former mines, shuttered when the nickel price dropped below US$3 a pound, back online.
Giacovazzi described an aura of excitement in Kambalda, having spent some time at the local pub alongside a recent site visit.
"There's a lot going on in that part of the world - there's a lot of lithium, there's a lot of nickel, there's a lot of gold," he said.
"I'd say it's probably the most active and most exciting part of the world from a mining perspective."
On the other side of the globe, just over a year since beating BHP to acquire Noront Resources for C$617 million, Wyloo is working on feasibility studies for Eagle's Nest, described as one of the highest-grade nickel-copper-platinum-palladium deposits in the world.
It's advancing the studies at the same time progress is being made on an important local infrastructure project, being led by First Nations communities, which will connect the Ring of Fire project to the provincial freeway.
Noront had envisaged an initial 11-year mine at Eagle's Nest and Wyloo intends to develop a net zero emissions operation, supporting Indigenous and regional employment and investigating potential battery material production in Ontario.
Although lesser-known, Giacovazzi said Wyloo's other two nickel projects in Quebec, the West Raglan joint venture and earlier-stage Shadow Bridge project, were equally as exciting.
Wyloo can earn up to 80% of the circa 650 square kilometre West Raglan project - near Glencore's Raglan mine and Canadian Royalties' Nunavik nickel mine - which was previously explored by Anglo American and has nickel, copper, platinum group element and cobalt mineralisation.
Shadow Bridge was a Voisey's Bay lookalike, Giacovazzi added.
Becoming a nickel sulphide producer dovetails neatly with Wyloo's downstream processing plans.
The company is aiming to deliver a feasibility study in 2024 on a proposed integrated battery metal (IBM) facility in Western Australia with mining and exploration company, IGO.
The pair are looking to produce high-value, nickel-dominant precursor cathode active material (PCAM) for the battery supply chain and are in discussions with a potential partner with PCAM experience.
"There's a real opportunity for us to add more value to our minerals before we export them," Giacovazzi said.
"We also view it as an important first step for Australia and Western Australia to actually become serious about manufacturing batteries in this country."
Land was secured south of Perth for the proposed facility in April.
"As an investment proposition, we are a producing nickel company but we've probably got the most exciting growth pipeline," Giacovazzi said.
"There aren't a lot of nickel companies that have the scale that we now have, on any of the stock exchanges.
"So it would be an interesting proposition to consider bringing it to market but it's not something that we're thinking about at the moment."
As for further acquisitions, Wyloo would always keep its ear to the ground for opportunities but was currently focused on integrating Mincor into the team, Giacovazzi said.
"We're definitely not done yet," he said.