Tartisan Nickel Corp believes the Kenbridge project could be designed to meet potential short-term nickel supply shortfalls
Nickel is the main component of an electric car battery that has dramatically increased range, a key driver for consumers
The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is accelerating towards us faster than some might have thought, putting more and more battery metals in the spotlight.
With the prices of electric vehicles falling and governments increasingly embracing greener initiatives, it’s no wonder that resource companies are stepping up to the plate. New US President Joe Biden, for example, has proposed a US $ 1.74 trillion stimulus, which includes promoting EV adoption and aims to strengthen national lithium battery supply chains.
“It’s not a question of if, it’s now a question of when,” says Mark Appleby of the acceptance and rapid deployment of electric vehicles in the mainstream market.
Appleby is the CEO of () () (FSE: A2D), formerly Tartisan Resources before its decision to switch to battery metals. Its flagship asset is the Kenbridge Nickel project located in the mining district of Kenora, Ontario.
The CEO of the company thinks people are ready to consider now (rather than in a few years) that their next car purchase could be an electric vehicle, moving away from fossil fuels.
Nickel is the main component of an electric car battery which has dramatically increased range, a key factor for consumers.
Global consumption of nickel sulphate (the type used by vehicle and battery manufacturers) increased by 28% in 2019 alone, as the share of metal demand absorbed by electric vehicles is expected to rise. to 31% in 2040, compared to 4% just two years ago. .
This is where the advanced stage Kenbridge nickel deposit comes in (which is sulfate and not raw nickel).
After acquiring the assets of Kenbridge in 2018, along with a wide range of historical data, the company released an updated mineral resource estimate in September 2020, showing a Measured and Indicated Resource (M&I) of 7 , 5 million tonnes (Mt) of 0.58%. nickel and 0.32% copper for 95 million pounds of nickel content.
The company hired P&E Mining Consultants to update the historical Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA), which is expected to be released in June 2021, so the company can tell the Kenbridge story, including the potential savings and costs, to the world of investors at large.
The historic PEA showed an initial capex of $ 108 million, a recovery of 84.6 million pounds of nickel and a pre-tax net present value (NPV) of $ 253 million. The pre-tax internal rate of return (IRR) was set at 65%.
“We have advertised ourselves as a premium, low capex Class 1 nickel game that will potentially deliver above-average returns. I think the 2021 historic PEA update should help highlight our strong economy. “he said.
The dynamics of the breakeven point will be at the center of concerns in the new PEA. Historically, the project’s breakeven point would have been US $ 4 per pound of nickel, and today the metal is trading north of US $ 7.25.
Friendly mining jurisdiction
It is perhaps interesting to note at this point that Kenbridge is in a mine friendly jurisdiction, has good access and is only 40 kilometers from the power grid and is home to a 622 meter (m) deep shaft. .
Appleby says there are no projects that could be in production in three years or less, if that is the consensus, while also emphasizing Kenbridge’s proximity to the North American battery supply chain.
The continued risk reduction of the Kenbridge project by Tartisan and the updating of the PEA could then trigger a bank feasibility study (BFS).
“With our current track record, we would be able to mitigate some risk and reduce potential dilution … there are unique alternatives as a structured finance candidate,” Appleby says of possible progress in the coming months.
And it all adds up to the geophysics and a potential 10,000m drilling program at Kenbridge, slated to begin in June of this year, which aims to extend mineralization along the length and depth of the current deposit. .
The updated mineral resource estimate will be incorporated into the updated historical PEA. Through drilling, of course, the company hopes to develop its current estimates of mineral resources.
While Kenbridge looks set to become a response to potential short-term nickel supply shortfalls, Tartisan has other value drivers in its portfolio.
In terms of its investments, the company is a shareholder of (TSXV: ELO), which is currently drilling the ISKA ISKA polymetallic silver and tin project in Bolivia as part of a 50,000m diamond drilling program. , having recently raised C $ 25 million.
Tartisan also owns shares in Peruvian Metals Corp. (TSXV: PER), which owns 80% of the Aguila Norte processing plant, which sits just off the Pan-American highway in Peru, and where production in the first quarter of this year was the best. never seen by the company.
At the project level, the company owns the Sill Lake lead-silver project where it now has 933.57 hectares (Ha) of land, having purchased new claims, and plans to update the NI43-101 report. on resources. in the near future.
So, with many potential value drivers and a short-term news feed, as well as a very exciting nickel asset, Tartisan Nickel looks set to attract many more “eyeballs” to its history.
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