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Canada Nickel Achieves 62% Nickel Recovery and Demonstrates Substantial Improvement in Metallurgical Performance at the Crawford Nickel Sulphide Project

Highlights: Flowsheet improvements yield recovery gains and enhanced magnetite concentrate quality (all figures below relative to Preliminary Economic…

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This article was originally published by Inside Exploration


  • Flowsheet improvements yield recovery gains and enhanced magnetite concentrate quality (all figures below relative to Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) model)
    • Nickel recovery of 62% – 10 percentage points or 19% improvement
    • Iron recovery of 45% – 2 percentage points or 5% improvement
    • Magnetite concentrate grade of 54% iron – 6.5 percentage points or 14% improvement
    • Cobalt recovery of 70% – 30 percentage points or 75% improvement

TORONTO, Oct. 5, 2021 – Canada Nickel Company Inc. (“Canada Nickel” or the “Company”) (TSXV: CNC) (OTCQX: CNIKF) is pleased to announce substantial metallurgical improvements that deliver increased recoveries of nickel, iron and cobalt, as well as enhanced iron magnetite concentrate quality, at  its 100% owned Crawford Nickel Sulphide Project.

Mark Selby, Chair and CEO said, “I am very pleased with this step change in metallurgical performance that our team has unlocked during this phase of flowsheet optimization.  The nickel recovery is substantially higher than the 4-5 percentage point improvement in nickel recovery the Company is targeting for the feasibility study.  The improvement in grade and recovery of iron in the magnetite concentrate that has already been unlocked is excellent.  I cannot underscore enough the importance of these results, as we believe all of these improvements provide additional value to the project and each percentage point improvement in nickel recovery would yield a US$92 million improvement in the value of the NPV8% of the project, based on the PEA metrics.”

Mr. Selby continued, “Additionally, we continue to aggressively advance on the work programs to complete an updated Crawford resource and feasibility study.  We have 5 drill rigs at site – 2 of which recently began geotechnical drilling to support the feasibility study.  Our infill drilling at Crawford and exploration drilling programs remain inline with our expectations.  Unfortunately, assay results remain very delayed with results from one provider now 16 weeks delayed.”

Flowsheet Development program
A key focus of the feasibility study activities is the continued improvement in flowsheet performance given its potential to add significant value to the project, particularly as less than one year of work had been completed on the project before results of the PEA were announced on May 25, 2021.

The locked cycle test (“LCT”) conducted at XPS Expert Process Solutions, a Glencore Company (“XPS”), was the first LCT completed since releasing the PEA. The LCT was completed to measure the impact of flowsheet improvements made over the past four months. The sample selected for testing was a pentlandite dominant sample with a nickel head grade of 0.35%, an iron head grade of 6.0% and a sulphur to nickel ratio of 1.1.   This sample was selected because it is a representative sample of what is expected to be processed in Phase 1 of mill operation.

The flowsheet utilized in this test included changes to reagents, grind sizes, and position of magnetic separation in the flowsheet.  No further details are being provided at this time as the Company believes these improvements are a proprietary competitive advantage.

Table 1 – Locked Cycle Test – Summary of Results Compared to the PEA Model

LCT Recovery (%) LCT Concentrate Grades (%)
Nickel Concentrate Magnetite
Ni Co Fe Cr Ni Co Fe Fe Cr
Actual 62 70 45 21 13 0.9 39 54 4.5
Modelled 52 40 43 27 12 47.5 3.3
Difference +10% +30% +2% -6% +1% +6.5% +1.2%

As expected, 100% of the nickel recovery in the flotation concentrate reported to the Standard Concentrate product because pentlandite was the primary nickel sulfide mineral in this sample.  The nickel concentrate grade of 13% is 1% higher than our target 12% grade for this product and the cobalt grade was 0.9% (no target in PEA).  The iron and MgO content of the flotation concentrate was 39% and 7% respectively. PGM assays are pending. The iron content of the flotation concentrate represented 11 percentage points of the 45% overall iron recovery and 1 percentage point of the overall 21% chromium recovery.

Table 2 – Locked Cycle Test – Magnetite Concentrate Quality

LCT Magnetite Concentrate Grades (%)
Fe Cr Ni MgO Co S
54 4.5 0.13 10 0.008 0.15

The iron grade of 54% is a substantial improvement over the modelled grade of the 47.5% iron utilized in the PEA.  The chromium grade of 4.5% is higher than the 3.3% chromium grade that was modelled in the PEA and the chromium recovery of 21% was lower than target recovery in the PEA of 27%.   Of the nickel recovery, 1% was reported to the magnetite concentrate.  Given the nickel and chromium content of this magnetite concentrate, it is expected to be utilized in the production of stainless steel and other alloys where the nickel and chromium are a valuable feed.

As cobalt was not a payable metal in the PEA, it was not a priority during the PEA flowsheet development and optimization work.  As it is expected to be a payable metal in the feasibility study, improvements in cobalt recovery are also a key focus of flowsheet development.   Cobalt recovery was materially improved to 70% (versus of an expected target of 40% in the PEA) to the nickel concentrate which graded 0.9% cobalt.

Before completing the LCT, flowsheet improvements were first demonstrated in open circuit tests on a range of samples from across Crawford with head grades between 0.30 – 0.43% Ni and range of mineral compositions. The open circuit tests demonstrated an increase of at least 6 percentage points in nickel recovery and average increases in nickel and cobalt recoveries to the flotation concentrates of 9% and 17% respectively (See Table 3 and Figure 1 below).  This result does not include the contribution of nickel from the magnetite concentrate, as this circuit was still under development during some of these tests. For three out of the four samples, modelled nickel recovery was achieved in the flotation circuit alone without any contribution from the magnetite concentrate. 

Table 3 – Open Circuit Tests – Comparison of New Flowsheet versus PEA Flowsheet
Summary of Flotation Recovery for Nickel and Cobalt

Head Grade Nickel Flotation Recovery Cobalt Flotation Recovery
Ni S S/Ni Before After Diff. Before After Diff.
Sample 1 HGC 0.30 0.11 0.37 26 42 + 16 30 60 + 30
LCT Sample HGC 0.31 0.30 0.97 53 60 + 7 62 80 + 18
Sample 3 HGC 0.38 0.25 0.66 46 52 + 6 51 60 + 9
Sample 4 HGC 0.43 0.26 0.60 56 62 + 6 41 53 + 12
Average + 9 Average + 17
Unable to view the image, Please provide a valid URL.

For further details, including key assumptions, parameters and methods used to estimate the results of the PEA, and data verification, please refer the “Crawford Nickel-Sulphide Project National Instrument 43-101 Technical Report and Preliminary Economic Assessment”, with an Effective Date of May 21, 2021, as filed July 12, 2021, and available for viewing on the Company’s website

Next Steps in Flowsheet Development
Metallurgical test work through the remainder of 2021 will focus on finalizing a flowsheet for the Feasibility Study which is expected to be completed in 2022.

The Company will continue the flowsheet development work through the balance of the year and is continuing to target improvements in both recovery and quality of the concentrates.  

Nickel recovery from the slimes circuit was not included in the reported results and represents a further opportunity to improve flowsheet performance. The nickel recovery in the slimes concentrate was 3.4% with a corresponding grade of 3.3% Ni. This stream has the potential be in combined into the main flotation circuit and be upgraded to further increase nickel recovery.

Qualified Person and Data Verification
Stephen J. Balch P.Geo. (ON), VP Exploration of Canada Nickel and a “qualified person” as such term is defined by National Instrument 43-101, has verified the data disclosed in this news release, and has otherwise reviewed and approved the technical information in this news release on behalf of Canada Nickel Company Inc.  

About Canada Nickel
Canada Nickel Company Inc. is advancing the next generation of nickel-cobalt sulphide projects to deliver nickel and cobalt 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 NickelTM, NetZero CobaltTM, NetZero IronTM 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 and cobalt 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. For more information, please visit

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains certain information that may constitute “forward-looking information” under applicable Canadian securities legislation. Forward looking information includes, but is not limited to, the metallurgical results, the timing and results of the feasibility study, the results of Crawford’s PEA, including statements relating to net present value, future production, estimates of cash cost, proposed mining plans and methods, mine life estimates, cash flow forecasts, metal recoveries, estimates of capital and operating costs, timing for permitting and environmental assessments, realization of mineral resource estimates, capital and operating cost estimates, project and life of mine estimates, ability to obtain permitting by the time targeted, size and ranking of project upon achieving production, economic return estimates, the timing and amount of estimated future production and capital, operating and exploration expenditures and potential upside and alternatives. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Canada Nickel to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. The PEA results are estimates only and are based on a number of assumptions, any of which, if incorrect, could materially change the projected outcome. There are no assurances that Crawford will be placed into production. Factors that could affect the outcome include, among others: the actual results of development activities; project delays; inability to raise the funds necessary to complete development; general business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties; future prices of metals or project costs could differ substantially and make any commercialization uneconomic; availability of alternative nickel sources or substitutes; actual nickel recovery; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; accidents, labour disputes, the availability and productivity of skilled labour and other risks of the mining industry; political instability, terrorism, insurrection or war; delays in obtaining governmental approvals, necessary permitting or in the completion of development or construction activities; mineral resource estimates relating to Crawford could prove to be inaccurate for any reason whatsoever; additional but currently unforeseen work may be required to advance to the feasibility stage; and even if Crawford goes into production, there is no assurance that operations will be profitable.

Although Canada Nickel has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results to differ from those anticipated, estimated or intended. Forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this news release and Canada Nickel disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws.

Author: MikeyMike426

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Base Metals

Monsters of Rock: Lithium shares flush with positive sentiment to dominate the gains

Lithium miners were the kings, queens, jacks and aces of the bourse on an avalanche of positive news around the … Read More
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Lithium miners were the kings, queens, jacks and aces of the bourse on an avalanche of positive news around the sector.

The biggest trigger was probably the incredible rise in value for Tesla overnight, which soared beyond a US$1 trillion valuation on news Hertz would order US$4 billion worth of electric vehicles from the automaker.

As the leading electric vehicle maker in the western world, and with a big presence also in China and energy storage, Tesla is one of the biggest end users of lithium products globally.

Its boss Elon Musk, now the richest man ever, has a fair bit of sway on the market as well.

On top of that Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), up 525% over the past 12 months since spodumene prices bottomed out at under US$400/t (it sold a batch for upwards of US$2000/t last month), gained 7.66% after formally announcing plans to develop a lithium chemical plant in a JV with South Korea’s POSCO.

Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) declared the start of construction on its Finniss Lithium Mine in the Northern Territory. That will be shipping concentrate from the end of 2022.

$550 million capped Neometals (ASX:NMT) was up 14% after announcing its battery recycling demonstration plant in Hilcenbach, Germany, had been fully commissioned.

The one time lithium miner is up 405% over the past year.

Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL), Sayona (ASX:SYA), Liontown (ASX:LTR) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) were among the lithium miners to dine out on the day’s news, while rare earths miner Lynas (ASX:LYC) was also up.

On the flippity flip, iron ore miners were weak with Fortescue (ASX:FMG) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) cancelling out a gain from BHP (ASX:BHP), while Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) cancelled out the gains it made with yesterday’s announcement the Wodgina lithium mine would be coming back online with news it ate a 48% price discount on iron ore sales in the September Quarter.

MinRes’ average realised prices fell from US$178/t to around US$78/t between the June and September Quarters.

The bright green is all lithium baby. Pic: Commsec


Base metals inventories falling, but can it be sustained?

Base metals were back up on Monday, with production cuts in energy starved China and Europe hitting primary supply.

Inventories held by the major exchanges are being chewed up.

While price moves among the miners was muted, nickel rose 3.2% to climb back over US$20,000/t overnight after hitting US$21,000/t briefly last week.

“Nickel rallied after Eramet disclosed a 19% drop in ferronickel production from its operations in New Caledonia,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

“The market is also showing signs of tightness, with cash contracts closing at their biggest premium to futures in two years. LME inventories are down nearly 50% since April.”

LME stockpiles for copper hit their lowest level since 1974 last week, but Commbank analyst Vivek Dhar says it is too early to say whether the market is as tight as it seems, or whether some traders are hoarding to capitalise on high prices.

The market is expected to be in a small deficit at the end of this year to a 328,000t surplus in 2022 on rising supply (about 1.3% of global demand).

Mined supply is expected to increase 2.1% this year and 3.9% in 2022, but Dhar warned copper miners had a history of underwhelming.

“The rising forecasts for copper mine production reflect 5 major copper projects due to arrive by the end of 2022,” Dhar said.

“That compares with just two major copper projects in the last 4 years.

“Given the track record of mine disruptions (i.e. labour strikes, power and water scarcity and geopolitics) and the decline in copper grades, elevated copper mine production growth forecasts don’t tend to last long.

“We think it’s worth considering that new mine supply may take longer than currently expected to hit the market.”

The post Monsters of Rock: Lithium shares flush with positive sentiment to dominate the gains appeared first on Stockhead.

Author: Josh Chiat

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Energy & Critical Metals

Chart of the Day: Plenty of immediate upside targets for Ionic Rare Earths

Let’s get into it. Iconic Rare Earthss (ASX:IXR) is a bullish set up from a technical perspective. It’s in an … Read More
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Let’s get into it.

Iconic Rare Earthss (ASX:IXR) is a bullish set up from a technical perspective.

It’s in an uptrend. The moving averages are sloping up.

It’s shown us that when it wants to the market can get a hold of it – as evidenced by the fierce run from 1.5c to 6c at the start of this year.


Chart of the Day: Ionic Rare Earths (ASX:IXR)

There are no immediate gaps on the chart to worry about that need to be filled.

The company surpassed 4c resistance yesterday on increasing volume, which was a positive sign. However, after touching 4.5c in intra-day trade, it has now settled back to close at 4.2c, leaving a daily selling candle.

That infers that a test of 3.8 – 4c may be on the cards.

In our view that would make attractive buying.

Given the negative response to the scoping study in late April, there are plenty of immediate upside targets, the most immediate being 4.7c, with further potential to those March highs above 6c.

Back the other way, and we don’t need to hold this below 3.5c.

The company is well funded – reporting over $11m on balance sheet at their last quarterly – with an updated quarterly anticipated before the end of the month.

We are long as of yesterday, and will manage the trade to the above risk, looking for 4.7c first, with potential to above 6c if things go their way.

Steve Collette of Collette Capital Pty Ltd (ABN 56645766507) is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 1284431) of Sanlam Private Wealth (AFS License No. 337927), which only provides general advice.

Collette Capital only makes services available to professional and sophisticated investors as defined by the Corporations Act, Section (s)708(8)C and 761G(7)C.

The Collette Capital Wholesale IMA Strategy has returned +24.83% p.a. net of all fees as at the end of September 2021 since inception in January 2015 (using the Time Weighted Return method of calculating returns).

Learn more at

The post Chart of the Day: Plenty of immediate upside targets for Ionic Rare Earths appeared first on Stockhead.

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Energy & Critical Metals

Hastings could be next in line to produce rare earths in Australia with plant approval in Onslow

Rare earths player Hastings Technology Metals (ASX:HAS) has just secured environmental approval for construction of the downstream processing plant at…

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Rare earths player Hastings Technology Metals (ASX:HAS) has just secured environmental approval for construction of the downstream processing plant at its Yangibana rare earths project in Onslow in WA.

It’s a solid step on the path to production, with the plant set to perform hydrometallurgical processing of rare earths oxide concentrate from Yangibana into mixed rare earth carbonate (MREC) containing high levels of neodymium and praseodymium concentrate (NdPr).

NdPr are vital components used to manufacture permanent magnets that are required in advanced technology products ranging from electric vehicles to wind turbines, robotics, medical applications and digital devices.

And Yangibana contains one of the most highly valued NdPr deposits in the world, with NdPr:TREO ratios of up to 52%.

Australia’s next rare earths producer?

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) approval follows DevelopmentWA Board sign-off last month for the company to enter discussions for an option to lease Ashburton North Strategic Industrial Area (ANSIA) Lot 600.

“This is a significant milestone for our Yangibana Rare Earths Project and further endorses Hastings’ decision last year to decouple the processing plant from the Yangibana mine site,” executive chairman Charles Lew said.

“The Commonwealth environmental approval will allow Hastings to construct the Onslow Rare Earths Plant for a full production rate of 15,000 tonnes of MREC per annum, unlocking the high-quality and NdPr-rich rare earths carbonate that we will produce at Yangibana.”

“Importantly, the Commonwealth approval is another positive step in Hastings’ journey to become Australia’s next rare earth producer.”

“Debt financing talks are advancing well and scheduled for conclusion before the end of this year and early stage civil works at the Yangibana mine site are in progress.”

Pic: Location of ANSIA highlighting the site chosen for the Onslow rare earths plant.

Plant construction kicks off in 2022

The company says that building the plant at ANSIA – which is around 15kms south-west of Onslow – is key to its downstream processing program because it offers access to piped natural gas, a plentiful supply of water and grid power.

Plus, the ANSIA location reduced the volumes of consumables and reagents needed to be transported to the Yangibana mine site by up to 80%.

Construction of the plant is due to begin in 2022, after the completion of early works at Yangibana mine site – and in line with Hastings’ target to produce its first MREC in early 2024.

The post Hastings could be next in line to produce rare earths in Australia with plant approval in Onslow appeared first on Stockhead.

Author: Emma Davies

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