Does nickel in Timmins have the glamour of gold?
There have been significant nickel finds in the rock formations around the famed northeastern Ontario mining camp but the production results always fell short of expectations.
Canada Nickel Company’s Crawford nickel-cobalt sulphide project could quickly be changing that narrative.
Helmed by one of the world’s foremost nickel experts, company chair and CEO Mark Selby believes the 4,900-hectare property, 40 kilometres north of Timmins, has the potential to be a world-class, district-scale deposit.
“We’re looking at something where this could become the largest nickel sulphide mine in the world,” said Selby to Northern Ontario Business, “short of one mine in Russia.”
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With two rigs turning this summer to complete a drill program on the property’s Main and East Zones, Selby is brimming with confidence that Crawford could rival the annual output of Vale and Glencore’s production in Sudbury and Raglan, Que.
“First phase (of mining) we’ll be producing 30,000 to 35,000 tonnes initially, with more than enough resource there to double up production.”
The Toronto-based mine developer started a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in June of Crawford, due out by year’s end, and then proceed to feasibility study and complete that by the end of 2021.
Earlier this year, the fledgling nickel company turned some heads in proclaiming it was sitting on the world’s 12th largest resource of nickel sulphide with less than half the property drilled off and five nearby option properties yet to be tapped.
Drilling off the East Zone last spring led to a separate discovery of a zone of palladium group metals followed in June by more encouraging drill results from the Main Zone in grades and thicknesses, which only boosted the project’s economics.
More recently, after finding some nickel-bearing intersections in some historical drilling and geological data, Selby announced in a July 13 news release that they are “just scratching the surface” in realizing the “large-scale potential” of the property.
“New nickel sulphide discoveries are really rare and new palladium-platinum discoveries are also pretty rare,” said Selby in an earlier interview. “It was exciting on both fronts.”
Canada Nickel and Crawford are a cornerstone project situated within a more than 70,000-hectare land package known as Project 81, and held by Noble Mineral Exploration.
The area yields good geological genetics as it’s just north of Glencore’s Kidd Creek copper-zinc, the world’s deepest best metal operation.
It’s a mineral-rich environment with multiple deposits and showings of gold, cobalt, copper and base metals that has Noble receptive to securing more development partners.