FPX Nickel Corp. [TSXV-FPX] on Monday delivered an updated resource estimate for its Baptiste deposit in central British Columbia, which the company said will serve as the basis for an upcoming feasibility study to be completed by the second half of 2023.
The indicated resource at Baptiste is pegged at 1.8 billion tonnes at 0.129% nickel, 0.0035% cobalt and 2.40% iron (2.435 million tonnes of contained nickel). On top of that is an inferred resource of 339 million tonnes at 0.131% nickel, 0.0037% cobalt and 2.55% iron (444,000 tonnes of contained nickel).
That compares to the previous estimate of 1.9 billion tonnes of indicated material an average grade of 0.122% DRR nickel or 2.4 million tonnes of nickel and an inferred resource of 593 million tonnes, grading 0.114% DTR nickel, containing 700,000 tonnes of nickel.
The company said the new estimate incorporates results from a 2021 infill drilling program and is based on a new geological modelling approach and newly improved dike model, all of which contribute to significantly improved Davis Tube recoverable (DTR) nickel grades.
The new estimate also reports for the first time, the content of total nickel and potential by product elements, cobalt and iron.
However, the company noted that contained DTR nickel metal in the indicated category remains unchanged at 2.43 million tonnes, with an approximate 9.0% reduction in tonnage offset by an approximate 6.0% increase in the DTR nickel grade.
The indicated grade increase is primarily due to the following factors:
- The introduction of grade shell modeling.
- The exclusion of near or below cut-off-grade material within the mineralized zone through the improved dike model.
- The conversion of previously inferred higher-grade material through the inclusion of 2021 in-fill drilling data.
FPX shares were unchanged at 42.5 cents and currently trade in a 52-week range of 96 cents and 34.5 cents.
Earlier this year, FPX launched an internal scoping study to further evaluate the option to produce nickel sulphate for the electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain from the high-grade nickel concentrate produced by the Baptiste deposit.
The company said the study incorporates the positive results of previous leaching test work on the clean, high-grade Baptiste nickel concentrate (63% nickel), which confirmed the project’s potential to be a significant supplier of high-purity feedstock for the EV battery market.
Baptiste is located in the Decar Nickel District, a greenfield discovery of nickel mineralization in the form of a naturally-occurring nickel-iron alloy called awaruite. Covering 245 square kilometres, it represents a promising target for bulk tonnage, open pit mining, the company has said.
Baptiste is one of four targets in the Decar Nickel District and has been the main focus of diamond drilling since 2010.
A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) technical report for the Baptiste project has indicated that Baptiste has the potential to be a significant global nickel operation, with a multi-generational operating life and average annual production of 99 million pounds of contained nickel.