Quebec Nickel Corp. [CSE-QNI; OTCQB-QNICF; FSE-71B] reported results from the metallurgical test work program completed on drill core (rich in nickel/copper/platinum group elements) from the Fortin sill zone at its 100%-owned Ducros project near Lebel-sur-Quevillon, Quebec. The objective of the scoping-level metallurgical program is to evaluate the amenability of the Fortin sill zone to produce saleable critical-metal-bearing mineral concentrate(s).
Highlights: Copper concentrate grades of 30% copper with greater-than-90% recovery achieved; nickel concentrate grades of 5% nickel with recoveries averaging 72% realized; ball mill hardness testing indicates the sulphide-rich rocks are classified as moderately soft; and environmental characterization of the combined tails did not identify any notable leachable metals.
David Patterson, CEO and chairman of Quebec Nickel, remarked: “I’m happy to see these strong test results confirm what we were thinking as soon as we saw the core come out of the ground at the Fortin sill zone in early 2022. The mineral assemblages and grades found at Fortin are not only quite unique for the Abitibi, but they also look like they could potentially be processed using conventional metallurgical processes. In a very short amount of time, we’ve completed several different technical studies of the host rocks and nickel/copper/PGE mineralization found at Fortin, and all signs suggest we’re onto to something unique and important here.”
The metallurgical study was initiated in 2023 to follow up on significant drilling results returned from the Fortin sill zone, including 31.00 metres of 0.37% nickel, 0.40% copper, 176 parts per million cobalt and 0.55 g/t platinum/palladium/gold in hole QDG-22-09, 43.39 metres of 0.24% nickel, 0.25% copper, 146 parts per million cobalt and 0.35 g/t platinum/palladium/gold in hole QDG-22-28 and 11.80 metres of 1.44% nickel, 1.49% copper, 461 parts per million cobalt and 2.79 g/t platinum/palladium/gold in hole QDG-22-29.
During the first half of 2023, the company completed several dedicated HQ-diameter drill holes at the Fortin sill zone that supplied fresh material for the test work program. The metallurgical holes were designed to twin previously completed holes and targeted three styles and grades of nickel/copper/PGE mineralization, including low-grade disseminated and blebby sulphide mineralization with a target average grade of 0.30% nickel plus copper; moderate-grade blebby to heavily disseminated mineralization with a target average grade of 0.75 per cent nickel plus copper; high-grade net texture to semi-massive mineralization with a target grade of greater than 1.50% nickel plus copper.
From the metallurgical drilling, three 50-kg samples of nickel/copper/PGE mineralized drill core, each representing one of the styles and target grades of mineralization, were collected and delivered to SGS Canada’s Quebec City laboratory for the study.
Upon preparing a master composite sample from the three variability samples, the four samples were subjected to a metallurgical test program, which included amongst other protocols, comminution, flotation and environmental test work.
The Bond ball mill grindability test (comminution), which is used to estimate net power requirements for a potential mill grinding circuit, was performed on the master composite sample. Results from this test show the Fortin sill zone rocks are moderately soft.
The results from the flotation test work program demonstrate that the mineralized rocks at the Fortin sill zone are amenable to producing two distinct mineral concentrates, namely a high-grade copper-plus-gold-plus-palladium concentrate and a moderate-grade nickel-plus-cobalt-plus-platinum concentrate.
Copper grades ranging from 28.0 to 29.3% copper at recoveries ranging from 89.2% to 92.9% were achieved from the four samples. The nickel concentrate grades were relatively low at about 5% nickel for the four samples tested. Nickel recoveries improved significantly from the batch tests and ranged from a low of 48.2% in the low-grade sample to 77.5% in the high-grade sample.
A subsample of the combined tailings from the four locked-cycle tests was submitted for basic environmental characterization, including leachable metals and acid-base accounting (ABA). Environmental characterization of the combined tails did not identify any notable leachable metals but found the sample to be possibly acid generating.
Quebec Nickel is a mineral exploration company focused on acquiring, exploring and developing critical metals (nickel/copper/cobalt/PGE) projects in Quebec, Canada. The company has a 100% interest in the Ducros property, consisting of 282 contiguous mining claims covering 15,293 hectares within the eastern portion of the Abitibi greenstone belt in Quebec.