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Canada Nickel starts working on Crawford, eyes 2027 production

Canada Nickel (TSX-V: CNC) has kicked off front end engineering design (FEED) at its flagship Crawford nickel project in northern Ontario, which it expects to bring into production in 2027.

Ausenco Engineering Canada, the engineering partner, will lead this development phase, which is to be finished by August. Data collected during the 2024 winter geotechnical program, which is nearing completion, will support FEED activities, Canada Nickel said.

“As we continue to successfully advance Crawford financing and permitting activities, we are confidently moving into this next phase of project development,” chief executive Mark Selby said.

Canada Nickel’s boss reiterated the company is aiming for a mine construction decision by mid-2025, with first production by the end of 2027.

The proposed operation will consist of two open pits complemented by an on-site mill, to be completed in two phases to allow for throughput ramp-up, the study showed. Total capital cost for the two phases is estimated at $3.5 billion.

Over a 41-year project life, total metal production is calculated at 3.54 billion lb. of nickel, 52.9 million lb. of cobalt, 490,000 oz. of palladium and platinum, 58 million tonnes of iron, and 6.2 million lb. of chromium. First production is targeted for 2027.

Crawford’s feasibility study describes the use of conventional open-pit mining methods to extract 1,715 million tonnes of ore and 3,992 million tonnes of waste over a 33.5-year period. This time-frame includes 2.5 years of pre-stripping. 

Entrance to the company’s flagship Crawford nickel-cobalt project. (Image courtesy of Canada Nickel.)

The company will use a mixed fleet of mining equipment for the open-pit, including 120-tonne-class backhoe excavators to load 40-tonne articulated trucks. Areas with sand and till footwall will be mined using 300-tonne electric face shovels to load 90-tonne trucks, Canada Nickel has said.

Peak production at Crawford nickel mine is expected in year 11, when autonomous trucks and remotely operated shovels are fully integrated into the operation.Canada Nickel counts with the backing of top players in the mining and batteries market. The Toronto-based miner attracted the interest of Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX, NYSE: AEM), Canada’s largest gold producer, which now owns 12% of Canada Nickel.

Also in January, the company secured an investment from South Korea’s Samsung SDI. Through this deal, the battery maker can earn a 8.7% in Canada Nickel as well as rights to 10% of the nickel-cobalt production from the Crawford project over its expected mine life.

Crawford is currently host to the world’s second-largest nickel resource, totalling 2.46 billion tonnes at 0.24% nickel for 13.3 billion pounds of contained nickel, according to its feasibility study. This pegged the project’s after-tax net present value (8% discount) at $2.6 billion and internal rate of return at 18.3%.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More