Canadian nickel study points to 30-year project


Staff reporter

Canadian junior Giga Metals Corp says it aims to advance talks with potential strategic investors after announcing prefeasibility study results for a proposed US$1.89 billion nickel-cobalt project in British Columbia.

The company, which has a sub-C$30 million market value, owns 85% of the Turnagain project with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation (15%).

Its PFS outlined a base case (US$9.75/lb nickel/78% payability for nickel in concentrate) post-tax NPV of US$574 million and IRR of 11.4% for a 30-year project based on a low-grade openpit mine and conventional plant (with high-pressure grinding roll comminution) connected to hydroelectric power.

Giga says Turnagain can produce an average 35,224 tonnes a year nickel and 2064tpa cobalt at a C1 cost of US$4.65/lb nickel, with low-impurity nickel concentrate grading an average 18% nickel and 1.1% cobalt. The study prepared by Tetra Tech points to scope 1 and 2 carbon intensity of less than 1.8 tonnes of CO2-equivalent per tonne of nickel in concentrate based on current modelling.

Giga says its testwork indicates potential to convert a proposed conventional tailings management dam into a permanent carbon mineralisation facility for sequestration of CO2 through “naturally occurring mineral carbonation”.

The company says Turnagain ore is hard and resistant to SAG milling but is amenable to HPGR crushing, “making this an attractive comminution technology for the project”.

“The HPGR pilot plant testing showed good results at low operating pressure and power consumption with negligible dust generation,” it says.

On the mining front, “the Turnagain openpit deposit will be developed using large haul trucks [227 tonnes payload; currently diesel-powered], loaders and electric shovels to minimise unit costs”.

“Proven trolley-assist technology and autonomous haulage technology have been selected for reduced total costs and environmental footprint.

“Future mining equipment developments, such as battery-electric or fuel-cell powered vehicles which are already in testing phases, offer the potential to further reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions.”

A 160km extension of the existing 287kV BC Hydro grid Northwest Transmission Line to the project site would “deliver clean low-carbon electricity to the project, allowing the production of nickel in concentrate with a very low carbon footprint”.

Giga CEO Mark Jarvis described the PFS as “significant step forward for our project which will allow us to advance discussions with potential strategic investors”.

“The success of the extensive geometallurgical studies conducted by Blue Coast Research gives confidence in the metallurgical response of the entire deposit. This engineering study shows that the Turnagain Project has a low-risk flow sheet that will consistently and predictably deliver a high-grade, high-quality concentrate similar to concentrates successfully treated by nickel processing companies for decades.”

 

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