Vancouver, April 26, 2021 – FPX Nickel Corp. (FPX-TSX.V) (“FPX” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce the initiation of a metallurgical pilot test program to support the continued development of the Company’s Baptiste Nickel Project (“Baptiste” or the “Project”) in central British Columbia. This metallurgical program will be the largest and most comprehensive program conducted to-date on Baptiste mineralization, and is designed to validate and optimize the flowsheet parameters outlined in the Company’s September 2020 Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”).
“This year’s bench- and pilot-scale metallurgical studies are focused on confirming and improving upon the results of previous bench-scale testing conducted in support of the 2020 PEA,” commented Martin Turenne, FPX’s President and CEO. “We have identified opportunities to improve several aspects of the metallurgical process at Baptiste which have the potential to increase recoveries and/or lower processing costs, and also to generate saleable iron and cobalt by-products which could materially improve the Project’s economics.”
The processing flowsheet developed for the PEA is based on conventional grinding, magnetic separation and flotation processes to produce a concentrate grading 63% nickel and 1% cobalt. Previous testing and market evaluations have demonstrated that this clean, high-grade nickel concentrate could be an excellent feedstock for direct sale to end users in the stainless steel and electric vehicle (“EV”) battery sectors. The PEA flowsheet also produces a magnetite-rich tailings stream which has the potential to be sold or further valorized as a saleable iron ore product. For the PEA, no by-product revenues were recognized for the sale of this magnetite-rich iron ore product, but the Company believes that further testing and market evaluations could potentially support the inclusion of this product stream into the Project’s economics.
The overall objective of the 2021 metallurgical test program is to support the eventual production of a Preliminary Feasibility Study (“PFS”) for the Project, with testing focused on achieving the following:
- Confirm the PEA metallurgical results using materials representative of the life-of-mine production
- Expand the grindability and comminution parameter database, including conducting pilot-scale tests of the high-pressure grinding rolls (“HPGR”) circuit
- Confirming primary grade-recovery relationships defined by previous test work
- Confirm and optimize flotation parameters and nickel recoveries, and investigate possible improvements to the flotation process design
- Producing sufficient high-grade nickel concentrate for additional testing to produce nickel sulphate for the EV battery market
- Conducting mineralogical and particle size evaluations of the magnetite iron ore by-product to support further market evaluations of this product stream
- Generating baseline data on tailings characterization and settling characteristics to support the Company’s strategy for tailings management, including the potential for sequestration of carbon dioxide in tailings
Testing will be conducted on approximately three tonnes of representative drill core and coarse assay reject sample material, drawn from deposit areas across all phases of the PEA life-of-mine plan. The test program will be executed in multiple stages at laboratories including ALS Metallurgy in Kamloops, British Columbia, Koeppern/UBC facilities in Vancouver, SGS Mineral Services in Lakefield, Ontario and COREM Laboratories in Quebec City. The Company expects to report on the results of the metallurgical program in the third quarter of 2021.
The metallurgical information in this news release has been prepared in accordance with Canadian regulatory requirements set out in National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosures for Minerals Projects of the Canadian Securities Administrators (“NI 43-101”) and supervised, reviewed and verified by Jeffrey B. Austin, P.Eng., President of International Metallurgical and Environmental Inc., a “Qualified Person” as defined by NI 43-101 and the person who oversees metallurgical developments for FPX Nickel.
About the Decar Nickel District
The Company’s Decar Nickel District claims cover 245 square kilometres of the Mount Sidney Williams ultramafic/ophiolite complex, 90 km northwest of Fort St. James in central British Columbia. The District is a two-hour drive from Fort St. James on a high-speed logging road.
Decar hosts a greenfield discovery of nickel mineralization in the form of a naturally occurring nickel-iron alloy called awaruite, which is amenable to bulk-tonnage, open-pit mining. Awaruite mineralization has been identified in four target areas within this ophiolite complex, being the Baptiste Deposit, the B target, the Sid target and Van target, as confirmed by drilling in the first three plus petrographic examination, electron probe analyses and outcrop sampling on all four. Since 2010, approximately US $24 million has been spent on the exploration and development of Decar.
Of the four targets in the Decar Nickel District, the Baptiste Deposit, which was initially the most accessible and had the biggest known surface footprint, has been the main focus of diamond drilling since 2010, with a total of 82 holes and over 31,000 metres of drilling completed. The Sid target was tested with two holes in 2010 and the B target had a single hole drilled into it in 2011; all three holes intersected nickel-iron alloy mineralization over wide intervals with DTR nickel grades comparable to the Baptiste Deposit. The Van target was not drill-tested at that time as rock exposure was very poor prior to logging activity by forestry companies.
As reported in the current NI 43-101 resource estimate, having an effective date of September 9, 2020, the Baptiste Deposit contains 1.996 billion tonnes of indicated resources at an average grade of 0.122% DTR nickel, containing to 2.4 million tonnes of nickel, plus 593 million tonnes of inferred resources with an average grade of 0.114% DTR nickel, containing 0.7 million tonnes of nickel, both reported at a cut-off grade of 0.06% DTR nickel. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.
About FPX Nickel Corp.
FPX Nickel Corp. is focused on the exploration and development of the Decar Nickel District, located in central British Columbia, and other occurrences of the same unique style of naturally occurring nickel-iron alloy mineralization known as awaruite. For more information, please view the Company’s website at www.fpxnickel.com or contact Martin Turenne, President and CEO, at (604) 681-8600 or [email protected].
On behalf of FPX Nickel Corp.
Martin Turenne, President, CEO and Director
Certain of the statements made and information contained herein is considered “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. These statements address future events and conditions and so involve inherent risks and uncertainties, as disclosed in the Company’s periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. Actual results could differ from those currently projected. The Company does not assume the obligation to update any forward-looking statement.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.