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Canada Nickel’s “Bankable” Crawford Project on Track to Produce by 2027

Nov 30, 2023

Week by week, month by month, Timmins is a step closer to being a major player in Canada’s nickel industry thanks to Canada Nickel Company’s (CNC) Crawford Project. CNC touts Crawford as the world’s second-largest nickel reserve. Once in production, it is also expected to become one of Canada’s largest carbon storage facilities and be a net negative contributor of CO2 over the project life. 
The company released a much-anticipated Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) in mid-October and the numbers are both staggering and encouraging.
“This bankable feasibility study is a significant milestone for Crawford and a major step forward in demonstrating the value of our Timmins Nickel District and its potential to anchor a Zero Carbon Industrial Cluster in the Timmins-Cochrane region,” said Mark Selby, CEO. 
“Crawford is poised to be a leader in the energy transition through the large-scale production of critical minerals, including nickel and cobalt, and is expected to become the sole North American producer of chromium, while also supporting Canada’s climate objectives through industrial-scale carbon capture and storage.”
Selby continued, “I am very proud of our team for accomplishing this milestone in a very short period of time. Just four years ago, Crawford had only five drill holes. 

• Robust economics
After-tax, $2.5 billion NPV8% and 17.1% IRR; increasing to $2.6 billion NPV8% and 18.3% IRR with projected Carbon Capture and Storage tax credits
• Large initial mineral reserve anchored by significantly larger mineral resource
Proven & Probable reserves of 3.8 million tonnes contained nickel from 1.7 billion tonnes ore grading 0.22% nickel make Crawford the world’s 2nd largest nickel reserves. Reserves are hosted in a Measured & Indicated resource which increased by 74% (compared to the 2022 resource estimate) to 6.0 million tonnes. With additional Inferred mineral resources of 3.7 million tonnes contained nickel,  Crawford is the world’s 2nd largest nickel resources.
• Large scale, low cost, long-life
- Annual average nickel production of 83 million pounds (38k tonnes) over a 41-year life, with production of 48 ktpa nickel, 0.8 ktpa cobalt, 13 koz palladium and platinum, 1.6 Mtpa iron and 76 ktpa chrome over 27-year peak period
- Net life-of-mine C1 cash cost of $0.39/lb nickel (by-product basis) place Crawford in the first quartile of the cost curves. The net AISC cost, on a by-product basis, is $1.54/lb nickel
- Projected revenue exceeds $48 billion, or more than $1 billion annually over project life.
• Significant improvement in recoveries from PEA:
- Nickel: 10% improvement life-of-mine (41% versus 37% used in PEA), and a 23% improvement in Phase I/Phase II compared to PEA (46% versus 37% in the PEA)
- Improvements to life of mine recovery for Iron: 46%, Cobalt: 38%, and Chrome: 5%
• Significant earnings and free cash flow generation
- Projected annual EBITDA of $810 million and FCF of $540 million over peak period, annual EBITDA of $667 million and FCF of $431 million over project life
• Minimization of carbon footprint
- Minimal carbon footprint of 4.8 tonnes CO2/ tonne of nickel in concentrate, 2.3 tonnes CO2/tonne of nickel equivalent 4(“NiEq”); largely due to electrically powered mining fleet, including trolley-assist trucks, that are expected to reduce diesel consumption by over 40% compared to diesel powered equipment.
- Implementation of the Company’s proprietary IPT (In-Process Tailings) Carbonation process is anticipated to allow capture and storage of 1.5 million tonnes CO2 annually during 27-year peak period, the bulk of which will be sold to third parties.
- Anticipated net negative carbon footprint from carbon capture and storage capacity of 30 tonnes CO2 / tonne of nickel after accounting for project footprint.

Today, we believe it is a world-class project with tremendous momentum. We are fully focused on pursuing our next milestones of obtaining permits, developing a financing package, and moving towards a production decision by mid-2025, with a goal of first production by the end of 2027.”
The company, led by Selby, has dominated the Timmins mining landscape for up-and-coming producers with a steady series of milestones that check all the boxes for it to become a major player in the burgeoning global demand for the production of carbon neutral electric vehicle minerals.
CNC also successfully completed its carbon storage pilot plant, demonstrating the value of its novel carbon storage process, In-Process Tailings (“IPT”) Carbonation.
“Our successful pilot plant results, coupled with this study, confirm the significant value potential of the Company’s IPT Carbonation process,” said Selby. “The potential demand for more than 20 million tonnes annually of CO2 storage is well in excess of the 1 million tonne capacity for Crawford, which supports our company’s belief that our Timmins Nickel District can anchor a Zero Carbon Industrial Cluster in the Timmins-Cochrane region.” 


Crawford Project on Track to Produce by 2027

The company processed more than 7 tonnes of tailings and confirmed the engineering design parameters for IPT Carbonation for incorporation in the Integrated Feasibility Study (“IFS”). The pilot plant also was utilized to successfully apply the IPT Carbonation process to material from a third party’s project, demonstrating the potential to commercialize the process for other projects including the Company’s regional nickel properties in the Timmins Nickel District.
In addition, a study by a leading strategy house confirms that the Canada Nickel Crawford project could reasonably expect in excess of C$25 per tonne of CO2 in storage fees from its IPT Carbonation process based on publicly known storage fees and given communicated carbon price & policy status. The study also confirmed the potential requirement for more than 20 million tonnes of annual storage capacity of CO2, given communicated carbon price & CCUS ITC status, from a population of approximately 150 potential emitters, with approximately 50 emitters concentrated in four distinct clusters in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Toronto and Sarnia.
“As we rapidly advance Crawford towards production, the company continues to build its team to ensure we can maximize the value from our project. I am very pleased that Adam Schatzker, has agreed to join the team as Vice-President Corporate Development focused on unlocking the value of our IPT Carbonation process and the potential for a Zero Carbon Industrial Cluster in the Timmins-Cochrane region. The company continues to target receipt of permits by mid-2025 with construction to follow. Permitting remains on-track and good progress is being made through the second stage of the federal permitting process.”

IPT Carbonation Process
Canada Nickel’s Crawford Project is hosted in ultramafic rock, which naturally absorbs and sequesters CO2. Canada Nickel has developed the novel IPT Carbonation process which involves injecting a concentrated source of CO2 into tailings generated by the milling process. This simple process captures CO2 geologically in the tailings while they are still in the processing circuit, rather than after they have been finally deposited.

Carbon Capture, Utilization Storage and Tax Credit
The company believes that the successful incorporation of IPT Carbonation could potentially allow a portion of the company’s project capital expenditures to become eligible for the carbon capture and storage refundable investment tax credits of 37.5% to 60% for years 2022-2030 and 18.75% to 30% for years 2031-2040, as announced in the 2022 federal budget. The interest received from multiple large multinational companies pursuing carbon storage solutions further supports the company’s belief that the mineral sequestration utilized by the company may be considered an effective carbon storage approach that would meet Environment and Climate Change Canada requirements.

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