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Canada Nickel, Crawford Project . The real deal!

Jan 18, 2021

By Kevin Vincent
Not long ago, the mere suggestion that Timmins might be host to a world-class nickel deposit would be dismissed out of hand. That’s the polite version. Laughed out of the room would be more accurate.
After all, nickel is Sudbury and Thompson, Manitoba’s world and Timmins is mostly known for gold. But wait a minute, there’s that other Timmins mine, the copper-zinc one, Kidd Creek, not far from, Crawford Township.
Enter Canada Nickel Company. The junior miner didn’t start trading on the TSX Venture Exchange until late February 2020. From there, it’s been a whirlwind of activity with company CEO Mark Selby leading an aggressive exploration and financing effort that investors are keen to oblige.  
“The whole thing with the (Crawford) project is that my past experience, and our team’s past experience, is with the process of taking Dumont (Quebec nickel deposit) to a shovel-ready project. There are a lot of similarities between Crawford and Dumont and we have been able to advance Crawford very aggressively because of that past experience. First discovery holes were drilled in the end of 2018, results came out in  the spring of 2019. And again, because it was a joint venture with a messy structure that drove those holes, they really didn’t get much traction in the market.”
Selby is referring to Noble Mineral Exploration Inc. and Spruce Ridge Resources who were working the Crawford Township property just a stone’s throw down the road from the world-famous Kidd Creek Mine in north Timmins.
In the fall of 2019, Noble, Canada Nickel, Spruce Ridge Resources Ltd. and a group of private investors entered into a binding letter of intent and a subsequent Implementation Agreement to facilitate Canada Nickel’s consolidation and 100% ownership of the Crawford Project.
The Crawford Ultramafic Complex, an 8-kilometre long body of peridotite, dunite and their serpentinized equivalents, entirely under cover, was defined by a helicopter-borne magnetic and electromagnetic survey and an airborne gravity survey, both conducted over of the entire project area of 100 sq. km. An Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) review of data, provided by Albert Mining Inc. also identified the area as being prospective for nickel.
 “I was approached in July 2019 and I said it was pretty clear that this new project had a number of key strengths in terms of a higher-grade core and  more sulphides. From there, we started Canada Nickel Company, and since then, we’ve been going flat out to advance it towards development,” Selby told Mining Life.
In an exclusive interview with Mining Life (the video of which is also available on our website MiningLifeOnline.net) Selby said mining investors have a deep grasp of gold exploration but not so much for other metals like nickel.


Selby says most investors are understandably, focused on gold today. “There are so many gold plays out there. People know if you’ve got a one-and-a-half-gram open pit hole close to surface, that’s good. If you get an eight-gram-per-tonne underground hole across 10 meters, that’s good. But for nickel deposits like ours, many  don’t have that shorthand to say, oh, okay, well, how does 0.3% nickel work, right? I don’t understand.”
When Selby and his team took over, they started a systematic and broad exploration program to determine how wide the Crawford nickel-cobalt deposit might extend. The Company is also defining a PGM Zone which runs parallel to the nickel structures in the Main and East Zones at the northern contact between the peridotite and pyroxenite layer just north of the nickel structure. Investors like what they see.
“Most of what’s been discovered and developed in the nickel space over the last little while has tended to be smaller, higher grade deposits,” said Selby. “And again, it’s great, because you get nice, big, splashy, shiny core, that if you can hand it to an investor, it feels nice and heavy. But the reality with those projects is they don’t get very big, for the most part. Voisey’s Bay was an exception, rather than the rule. There’s a slide in our investor deck that’s a Vale slide, showing that, if you look at the dots in the bottom right-hand corner of the graph, they’re kind of half the size of the sulphide discoveries of the prior generation. So, our deposit’s the largest discovery since the mid-1970s.”
Selby says the problem with the smaller higher-grade deposits is you still have to invest all the capital involved with building the mine. “And again, you follow the mining industry, so it’s one thing to start with a big open pit that you’ve got 30 years’ worth of resource, and you just keep mining, and you don’t have to go and find it and develop. Whereas, if you’re underground, that’s great, you get started, and then you just have to keep exploring and developing to continue to find the resource.”
“So, yes, it is high grade, it might be lower cash cost. But when you have to factor in that you’re spending a lot of capital to develop not really that many nickel tons, and then you have to keep exploring and developing every year to get to the nickel resource, it can get pretty expensive.”
Crawford’s maiden resource was defined with higher grade core of measured and indicated resource of approximately 263 million tonnes at 0.31% nickel, 0.013% cobalt, and 0.038 g/t Pd + Pt within an overall measured and indicated resource of approximately 600 million tonnes at 0.25% nickel, and 0.013% cobalt, and an additional higher grade inferred resource of approximately 66 million tonnes at 0.29% nickel and 0.013% cobalt within an overall inferred resource of approximately 310 million tonnes at 0.23% nickel and 0.013% cobalt.
The company filed an updated NI 43-101 in early December, available on SEDAR.
As for a pre-feasibility study, Selby says Canada Nickel will skip that step because of the consistency between Dumont and this project. “We did two pre-feasibility studies and two feasibility studies on Dumont so we can leverage all that work that was done there on this particular project.”
Despite his high degree of optimism, Selby says there are plenty of challenges.  
“Some of the nickel is tied up in silicate minerals that you can’t recover by conventional floatation. So, it’s a question of, how much of the nickel can you recover? So, Dumont life of mine was 43% with the best kind of years in the high 40s, low 50s percent recovery.”
Another step that Canada Nickel has taken is setting up NetZero Metals to look at the possibility of a processing facility in Timmins. We asked Selby if that’s putting the cart before the horse?
“No, again, we’re pretty confident that we’ve got a mine. And so, the opportunity here really is we’re the fortunate coincidence of three things. One is the host rock that makes up 90% of this deposit, and there’s some other deposits in BC and it is the same thing for Dumont, it is made up of minerals that when they’re exposed to air, spontaneously absorb CO2. In today’s world, that’s a very valuable property to be able to take advantage of.”


Net Zero
“The second thing is because Northeastern Ontario is all hydroelectric power, we can have zero carbon electricity to use in the plant. And then Timmins, a lot of places don’t like mining period, and even fewer places like downstream processing. But since the closure of the copper and the zinc refining processing plants, Timmins is pretty hungry to see some of that come back.”
“Because those three pieces are already there, it gives us the opportunity to look at putting some processing plants nearby. So, we will provide them feed, and then take their off-gases and effectively scrub them using our tailings to ensure the CO2 doesn’t come out.  And with the additional CO2 that the tailings will soak up, we have the potential able to have a NetZero nickel cobalt product and iron product which we can also produce because we have magnetite in the orebody as well.”
Selby isn’t shy about his bullish outlook. “We expect to see similar kinds of performance from our deposit given the similarities between the two. And then we will roll right into the feasibility study.  We’re looking at Crawford being something of a similar scale to Detour and IAMGOLD’s operations in the Timmins area, so starting at around 35,000-40,000 tonnes a day. Dumont starts at 52,000 and ramps up to 105,000 tonnes, and we’ll probably do something slightly different at Crawford - sort of 35,000 to 70,000 and then ramp up to 100,000. Something like that. So, it’ll be one of the largest base metal mines in Canada by the time we’re done.”

Jan 18, 2021- Click on Link:   Canada Nickel changes NI 43-101 filing for Crawford nickel project





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