The Crawford nickel sulphide project is immediately advancing to the feasibility study stage, after a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) demonstrated robust economics for what will be one of the biggest nickel sulphide operations globally.
TSX-V-listed Canada Nickel Company on Tuesday announced the PEA results for Crawford, in Timmins, Ontario, highlighting the large scale, low cost and long-life characteristics of the potential mine.
Economics are also robust, with an aftertax net present value, using an 8% discount, of $1.2-billion and an 16% internal rate of return.
“The PEA, utilising just a fraction of our resource potential, demonstrates that we expect to be one of the largest nickel sulphide operations globally, producing 1.9-billion pounds of nickel over a 25-year period with net cash costs of just over $1 per pound. Our current focus on the stainless steel market allows us to fully utilise the substantial by-product value for the contained iron and chrome, placing us on the lower end of the cost curve,” said chairperson and CEO Mark Selby.
Crawford would produce an average of 75-million pounds a year of nickel, as well as 860 000 t/y of iron and 59 000 t/y of chrome as byproducts. The life-of-mine C1 cash cost is $1.09/lb and all-in sustaining costs are $1.94/lb.
The nickel, iron and chrome that the mine will produce over its quarter-century life span is valued at $24-billion.
Selby said that Canada Nickel was exploring opportunities to deliver the nickel in its concentrates into the electric vehicle market.
The timeline for the completion of a feasibility study is mid-2022.