RNC poised to advance Quebec nickel project

Extracting a bulk sample at the Dumont nickel-cobalt project near Amos, northern Quebec. Source: RNC Minerals.

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RNC Minerals Corp. [RNX-TSX], aka Royal Nickel Corp., and joint venture partner Waterton are ready to accelerate discussions with potential participants to advance the Dumont nickel/cobalt project in Quebec towards construction.

The move comes after RNC released an updated feasibility study for the Dumont Project, which is located in the western portion of the Abitibi region, approximately 25 km west of the city of Amos and 60 km northeast of Rouyn-Noranda.

RNC holds a 28% interest the nickel joint venture that owns the Dumont Nickel-Cobalt Project.

If developed, Dumont will be an open pit and milling operation that will deploy conventional drilling and blasting, with loading by a combination of hydraulic excavators and electric rope shovels into trucks ranging in size from 45 to 290 tonnes.

According to the feasibility study, Dumont hosts the world’s second largest nickel reserve (2.8 million tonnes or 6.1 billion pounds of contained nickel) and the 9th largest cobalt reserve with 110,000 tonnes (243 million pounds) of contained cobalt.

That material is expected to support a large scale, long-life project. Initial production in concentrates is forecast at 33,000 tonnes annually, rising to 50,000 tonnes annually following a Phase 11 expansion. The feasibility study envisages production of over 1.2 million tonnes (2.6 million pounds) of nickel in concentrate over a 30-year mine life.

The initial capital expenditure is forecast at $1 billion.

“Once in production, Dumont will be one of the largest base metal mines in Canada, one of the top five sulphide nickel producers globally and one of the only large scale, fully permitted, nickel-cobalt projects that can begin to satisfy the significant growth in nickel and cobalt demand driven by the electric vehicle sector,” said RNC President and CEO Mark Selby.

“With the completion of this positive Feasibility Study, RNC, with our partner Waterton, is well positioned to accelerate discussions with potential partners to advance the Dumont Project towards production,” Selby said.

On Friday, RNC shares rose 2.35% or $0.01 to 43.5 cents. The shares trade in a 52-week range of $0.07 and $1.18.

RNC attracted international attention last year following news of a once-in-a lifetime gold strike in the Father’s Day Vein at its Beta Hunt gold mine in Australia. The company said it had extracted 9,250 ounces of gold, worth $15 million, from a 130-tonne cut of rock about 500 metres underground at the mine.

The find included a single 95-kilogram chunk that contained 2,400 ounces of gold, worth about $3.8 million. A second 62-kilogram stone contained 1,620 ounces.

RNC holds a 100% interest in the Beta Hunt Mine. In addition, RNC owns a 33% interest in Orford Mining Corp. [ORM-TSXV], a mineral explorer focused on highly prospective and underexplored areas of Northern Quebec, and the U.S. Carolina Gold Belt.

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