One of Canada’s largest nickel projects has just become a whole lot bigger.
Canada Nickel Company released a new mineral estimate for its Crawford nickel sulphide project, 40 kilometres north of Timmins, showing that the measured and indicated mineral count has more than doubled.
The total measured and indicated resources now sits at 1.43-billion tonnes at 0.24 per cent and an inferred nickel and inferred resource was 670-million tonnes at 0.23 per cent nickel.
The difference between measured, indicated and inferred resources is the degree of confidence in the amount of minerals in the ground with measured being the highest and inferred being the lowest.
A cut-off grade of 0.15 per cent nickel was applied in the estimate.
The new estimate was based on more than 56,000 metres of drilling and 113 drill holes performed earlier this year and in 2021.
The company maintains that Crawford, if developed into a mine, will be the largest base metal mine in Canada, and be the top five among nickel sulphide deposits in the world.
Two areas of focus at Crawford, labelled the Main and East Zones, are being evaluated for its open-pit mining potential.
A preliminary economic assessment study released a year ago placed a 25-year mine life for Crawford.
But the company believes that with only a fraction of the property having been fully explored, Crawford can evolve into a larger, district-sized mining complex with a much longer operating life. Exploration drilling indicates there is potential for high grades of nickel deeper down.
A feasibility study on what an operating mine will look like is due at the end of this year.
Canada Nickel Chair and CEO Mark Selby is, understandably, pleased with what he sees, particularly their exploration success in the East Zone.
“In less than three years from initial discovery, we believe Crawford has quickly become the fifth largest nickel sulphide resource globally. When combined with the potential for zero carbon production, Crawford is expected to become an important source of nickel for electric vehicle and stainless-steel producers.”
With exploration drilling results still coming in, Selby expects the resource to grow to 1.3 billion to 1.8 billion tonnes, their mine plan target, by the end of this year. The 4,900-hectare is also known to contain cobalt and platinum group metals.
Canada Nickel aspires that this proposed mining project can be a net-zero carbon emitting operation with the use of electric-powered hydraulic excavators and autonomous trucks. The company has been discussing off-take agreements and securing financing with those involved in electric vehicle manufacturing and serving that supply chain.