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Canada Nickel’s march toward coveted net-zero status continues

Dec 8, 2022

There is no green economy without mining and juniors like Canada Nickel are enthusiastically embracing the underlying principle of carbon neutrality. Canada Nickel Company Inc. is advancing the next generation of nickel-sulphide projects to deliver nickel required to feed the high growth electric vehicle and stainless steel markets. Canada Nickel Company has applied in multiple jurisdictions to trademark the terms NetZero Nickel™, NetZero Cobalt™ and NetZero Iron™ and is pursuing the development of processes to allow the production of net zero carbon nickel, cobalt, and iron products. Canada Nickel provides investors with leverage to nickel in low political risk jurisdictions. Canada Nickel is currently anchored by its 100% owned flagship Crawford Nickel-Cobalt Sulphide Project in the heart of the prolific Timmins-Cochrane mining camp.
The company has announced the results of further laboratory test results that build on the success of initial work on the In Process Tailings (“IPT”) Carbonation Process, which is a novel method for accelerated carbon capture that the company believes has transformative potential.
“These lab scale tests advance our understanding of how to operationalize this process to turn a nickel mine into a net generator of carbon credits rather than a generator of carbon emissions,” said Mark Selby, Chair and CEO of Ontario’s newest and prolific nickel discovery project in Timmins.    
“In our latest testing, we were able to triple the amount of carbon captured in 24 hours versus our prior test work.  Our goal is to develop a process which would utilize existing plant equipment and processes to operationalize our IPT Carbonation process, which is at least 8-12 times faster than current passive approaches and what industry leaders are currently able to achieve, with easier quantification and verification of the amount of carbon captured,” added Selby.
The company says this new set of results from the lab scale test program completed at Kingston Process Metallurgy (“KPM”), utilizing the most reactive tailings stream, demonstrates that changes to two key levers increased the amount of carbon capture in just 24 hours relative to the previous tests by more than three times, and achieved more than 60% of the previously achieved carbon capture level that had taken six days.
“Understanding the impact of these variables on the carbon capture potential is believed to be key to operationalizing the process.”


Canada Nickel drawing


IPT Carbonation process


Canada Nickel’s Timmins-based Crawford Project is hosted in ultramafic rock, which naturally absorbs and sequesters CO2. The potential to actively capture and sequester carbon was a key consideration in Canada Nickel’s acquisition of the 42 square km of target ultramafic rocks in Timmins area which could anchor a zero-carbon industrial cluster in Timmins.
“The challenge has been to develop a process that speeds up the naturally occurring carbon absorption process,” said Selby. “Canada Nickel has developed a simple active process that utilizes tailings as generated in the milling process and injects a concentrated source of CO2 for a brief period of time.   
This novel process for accelerated mineral carbonation is called In Process Tailings Carbonation or IPT Carbonation, which fixes CO2 geologically while the tailings are still in the processing circuit, rather than after they have been finally deposited.”
While Canada Nickel’s IPT Carbonation process has only been demonstrated at the lab scale and on a limited number of samples, the company believes that, given its relative simplicity, this process could be scaled up with availability of concentrated (rather than atmospheric) sources of CO2.
This CO2 could potentially be delivered by downstream processing of Crawford concentrates, a wide range of industrial processing activities, green hydrogen production, carbon capture facilities, or natural gas power generation.
The process clearly demonstrates the potential to produce NetZero NickelTM and NetZero CobaltTM for the EV industry, NetZero IronTM and chromium for the stainless-steel industry and generate substantial carbon credits during the process. The Company believes that the need for a concentrated source of CO2 for this process and the substantial CO2 capture capacity potential of its ultramafic land position could form the basis for an entire zero carbon industrial cluster in the Timmins region.
The IPT Carbonation process utilizes tailings directly from the mineral processing circuit and conditions them with CO2  for a brief period of time.  After this conditioning, the tailings achieved the Net Zero carbon capture target in less than 36 hours and achieved gross carbon capture rates of at least 26 tonnes of CO2 / tonne of nickel (5 times the amount necessary to achieve Net Zero metal production) in just six days and  could produce an estimated average of 710,000 tonnes of CO2credits annually and 18 million total tonnes of CO2 credits over expected life of mine based on the Crawford preliminary economic assessment (“PEA”).  
The experimental method and results for IPT Carbonation were initially completed at XPS, Expert Process Solutions, a Glencore Company, and the mechanism was then reproduced at a second independent lab, Kingston Process Metallurgy, adding confidence to the process.
“IPT Carbonation, which is an active process, has benefits over passive mineral carbon capture as the method for quantifying and verifying CO2 capture is expected to be much simpler. Using a standard carbon balance in the mineral processing facility, the CO2 captured from IPT Carbonation can be quantified before tailings are discharged into the permanent tailings storage facility such that carbon offsets can be quantified in real time as part of a standard metallurgical accounting system. Canada Nickel expects industry standards to be developed for quantifying CO2 capture through passive methods as well,” adds Selby.


For this article and more visit the digital copy of: The Northern Ontario Mining Report

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