A Game Changer for the Nickel Industry
- 100%-Owned Flagship Decar Project
A grassroots discovery of a new nickel deposit type. Located northwest of Fort St. James in central British Columbia, Canada.
- Naturally Occurring Stainless Steel Mineralization
Nickel is in the form of a “naturally occurring stainless steel” nickel-iron alloy called awaruite.
- Positive PEA
US$22 million spent advancing the project through completion of a positive Preliminary Economic Assessment, a critical milestone in demonstrating the potential economic viability of Decar.
- Low Environmental Impact
Contains little or no sulphides — so little or no capacity to generate acid mine drainage — and does not require chemical processing.
- Simple 2-Stage Recovery Process
Low-risk conventional rougher magnetic separation and gravity concentration recovery produces an awaruite concentrate grading 13.5% nickel, 45-50% iron and about 2% chromite.
- Positive Smelting Tests
Sucessfully produced high-grade ferronickel directly from awaruite concentrate.
- Constructive First Nations Relations
Exploration Memorandum of Understanding in place with Tl’atz’en Nation.
First Point Minerals currently has a portfolio of five nickel-iron alloy properties; four in British Columbia and one in the Yukon Territory, all 100% owned. The most advanced is the Decar project in central British Columbia.
“Naturally Occurring Stainless Steel” Nickel-Iron Alloy Mineralization
The nickel-iron alloy mineralization at the Decar property is hosted in ultramafic rocks in a dismembered slice of oceanic crust. The crust migrated long distances to collide with, or thrust over, continental margins, creating extensive geological terrains in the mountain ranges of not only British Columbia but around the world. Nickel and iron originally bound in rock-forming silicate minerals, were later liberated by invading sulphur-free hot water which altered the silicates and allowed the metals to recombine to form the mineral awaruite – a “naturally occurring stainless steel” nickel-iron alloy composed of 75% nickel and 25% iron, with negligible associated sulphides.
While the mineral awaruite has been known for over a century, it has for the most part been mentioned only anecdotally in scientific research papers, and its economic importance had not been previously recognized. Decar is the first known large scale nickel-iron alloy target with sufficient grain-size to be explored and assessed economically.
Ultramafic rocks typically contain 0.2% to 0.3% nickel, but the nickel is locked in the silicate minerals and can’t be recovered. The widely disseminated nickel-iron alloy mineralization at Decar consistently assays between 0.1% and 0.2% nickel-in-alloy. Decar is a low-grade but clean bulk-tonnage, open-pit nickel target. The deposit occurs with little or no associated sulphides, meaning it has little or no capacity to generate acid mine drainage, thereby significantly reducing its potential for a negative environmental impact.
Metallurgical test work to date demonstrates the nickel-iron alloy is recoverable using two-stage grinding and magnetic separation process, followed by gravity concentration, to produce a nickel-iron-chromite concentrate.
The resource definition and expansion drilling program undertaken on the Bapitiste deposit at Decar in 2012 added substanially more tonnes and higher average grades to the original resource, resulting in 1.159 billion tonnes being classified as Indicated Resources at a grade of 0.124% Davis Tube magnetically-recovered (“DTR”) nickel, equivalent to 3.170 billion pounds nickel based on a 0.06% cut-off. Additional Inferred Resources total 870 million tonnes grading 0.125% DTR nickel, equal to 2.399 billion pounds nickel.
The geological resource model consists of a large curved volume, which is 3 kilometres long, 150 to more than 1,080 metres wide and extends up to 540 metres deep. The Baptiste deposit remains open along strike in both directions, to the southeast in the higher-grade central area and at depth over the entire system.
In March 2013, First Point announced the positive results of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”), demonstrating the potential economic viability of the Decar project. The PEA study was prepared by Tetra Tech.
First Point is well positioned to capitalize on its first mover advantage as it continues to explore for additional discoveries of nickel-iron alloy targets, representing a potential game changer for the nickel industry.
For more information, click ‘About Nickel-Iron Alloy.’
The Preliminary Economic Assessment is considered preliminary in nature, based, in part, on inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability, and there is no certainty that results presented in the PEA will be achived.
The above technical information and all the other technical information on this website pertaining to geology and drill hole data was prepared under the supervision of First Point’s Chairman Dr. Peter Bradshaw, P. Eng., a Qualified Person as defined in National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101).