This is has been one of those 'milestone' weeks for Timmins mine developer Canada Nickel Company and its Crawford nickel sulphide project.
First, the Toronto-based company announced it had pulled the highest grade of nickel drill core ever recorded on the property, then it cashed up for the remainder of this year, taking in $51.6 million from the sale of flow-through shares.
The flow-through money is being invested back into the project to finish the technical studies needed to bring Crawford up to a more mine-ready stage as well as pay off some existing debt.
The Crawford nickel sulphide project, 40 kilometres north of Timmins, is Canada Nickel's anchor project. With the resource already at hand, Canada Nickel maintains it will have the largest base metal mine in the country and the world's fourth largest nickel sulphide deposit.
This week, the company released some results from an infill drilling program around the East Zone of Crawford. The highlight was a high-grade hit of 0.71 per nickel over a core length of 64.5 metres taken from a depth of 472.5 metres. A six-metre section of that core contained 1.04 per cent nickel.
The East Zone is one of two areas the company is evaluating for an open-pit mine complex. But the company believes there is the potential for higher grades at depth.
In a news release, Canada Nickel CEO Mark Selby said the drilling at Crawford's East Zone continues to "deliver strong results" as this high-grade discovery was found within the deposit. The company intends to do some step-out drilling beyond the deposit this year.
Assay results, which are still trickling in, will be folded into an updated resource estimate for Crawford due out by the middle of this year. A feasibility study will be released by the end of this year.
The company views Crawford as a two-pit operation over a projected 25-year mining life, but there's huge exploration upside that could add to its longevity. They say only a fraction of its land package has been explored.
Last May, a preliminary economic assessment of Crawford estimated 842,000 tonnes of nickel along with 21 million tonnes of iron and 1.5 million tonnes of chrome, valued at $24 billion. Annual nickel production would be 75 million pounds with significant iron and chrome by-products of 860,000 tonnes per year and 59,000 tonnes per year, respectively.
With a suite of mineral commodities at hand, Canada Nickel is eyeing off-take agreements from manufacturers in the North American electric vehicle supply chain and those in the stainless steel market.
The company is marketing Crawford as the "next generation" of nickel sulphide mines with an emphasis placed on leaving a zero-carbon footprint from the mining, to the transporting of the material to the on-site processing plant.