Atico Mining Announces Completion NI 43-101 Feasibility Study for the La Plata Project in Ecuador

Atico Mining Announces Completion NI 43-101 Feasibility Study for the La Plata Project in Ecuador

Atico Mining Corporation (the "Company" or "Atico") (TSX.V: ATY | OTC: ATCMF) is pleased to announce the results of the Definitive Feasibility Study (the "DFS" or the "Study") for its 100% owned La Plata Project ("La Plata") located in Ecuador. The DFS was prepared in accordance with the National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"). Please note that all financial figures in this press release are in United States dollars, unless otherwise noted.

Key Highlights:

  • Initial Probable Mineral Reserves for the La Plata project 2.51 Mt with an average grade of 1.59% Cu, 2.28 g/t Au, 30.41 g/t Ag, and 2.18% Zn.
  • Updated Indicated Resources of 2.345 Mt with an average grade of 2.13% Cu, 2.98 g/t Au, 40 g/t Ag, 3.05% Zn and Inferred Resources of 380 Kt at average grade of 0.96% Cu, 1.75 g/t Au, 38 g/t Ag, 2.29% Zn.
  • Average annual production of 9.71 Mlbs Cu, 15,929 oz Au, 226,299 oz Ag, and 13.25 Mlbs Zn in concentrates over 8.1 years Life of Mine ("LOM")
  • Initial Capex of US$91 Million, including a 9.8% contingency
  • Average AISC of US$2.70 1 per payable lb of Cu equivalent produced over LOM
  • After Tax NPV of US$93M at a 5% discount rate and an IRR of 25.1%
  • Underexplored VMS camp, currently identified resources are contained in only 1.6% of total land package

Fernando E. Ganoza, CEO and Director, commented, "Completion of this study is yet another important milestone that the Company has achieved this year as it provides for an important foundation upon which to continue building the La Plata project. As a next step, we have already commenced and advanced basic and detailed engineering where we continue to see significant opportunities yet to be captured." Mr. Ganoza continued, "The current reserves and resources at the La Plata project are a good starting point, however, historic and recent exploration work performed here tells us that these areas still provide significant exploration potential. We intend to test this hypothesis in the very near future. In addition, the currently identified resources are contained in only 1.6% of the total land package, where we see tremendous opportunities for further exploration success in the regional target areas."

Metallurgy and Processing

Metallurgical testwork has shown that the production of two concentrates provide the best economic performance for the operation, a zinc concentrate and a bulk concentrate. The testwork results are shown in Table 1 and were used in the estimation of the Mineral Reserve.

Table 1. Metallurgical Testwork Results

Parameter Algorithm Models Parameter Algorithm Models
Bulk conc recovery, % - Au 58 Zn conc Recovery, % - Au 12
Bulk conc recovery, % - Ag
Cu>=3.33 69.3 Zn conc Recovery, % - Ag
Cu>=3.33 8.1
Cu 53.5 Cu 21.1
Bulk conc recovery, % - Cu
Cu>=3.33 92.64 Zn conc Recovery, % - Cu
Cu>=3.33 1.73
Cu 79.53 Cu 9.65
Bulk conc recovery, % - Pb
Cu>=3.33 87.05 Zn conc Recovery, % - Pb
Cu>=3.33 4
Cu max(0.6675-0.0639*(Cu/Zn),0.474) Cu 12.9
Bulk conc recovery, % - Zn
Fe>=9.34 59 Zn conc Recovery, % - Zn
Fe>=9.34 33.1
Fe 18.2 Fe 70.7


The process plant design for the La Plata Project is based on a conventional metallurgical flowsheet to treat sulphide ore to produce bulk copper and zinc concentrates. The flowsheet is based on metallurgical test work, industry standards and conventional unit operations.

The process plant will nominally treat 850 tonnes per day (t/d) of ore and will consist of comminution and flotation circuits. Flotation tailings will be dewatered to produce a filtered tailings for storage onsite. The figure below represents the overall flowsheet for the La Plata Project.

The key project design criteria for the process plant are listed below:

  • Throughput of 310 kilo-tonnes per year (kt/y) of ore
  • Crushing plant availability of 75%
  • Grinding and flotation circuits availability of 92%
  • Filtered tailings availability of 85%
  • Comminution circuit to produce a particle size of 80% passing (P80) of 75 µm
  • Bulk concentrate average mass pull of 12%
  • Zinc concentrate average mass pull of 6%
  • Equipment selection based on suitability for the required duty, reliability, and ease of maintenance

Flowsheet

The Feasibility study proposes to construct, at a cost of US$1.6M, a 69kV transmission line for the power usage at the mine site using a new 8-kilometer connection to the power grid. Rain water will be collected from contact areas and fresh water will be pumped by pipeline from surface collection sumps. The company will also construct a filtered, stacked tailings impoundment facility to accommodate tails from the milling operations.

Mineral Resource Estimate

The Mineral Resource Estimate ("MRE") of the La Plata volcanogenic polymetallic massive sulphide ("VMS") project (the "Project" or "La Plata") presented herein represents an update from the previous MRE issued in the La Mina Preliminary Economic Assessment(" PEA") report, completed by SGS Canada Inc. ("SGS") in March 2019.

The current MRE is based on the updated drillhole database received on March 8, 2021, which includes additional data from the 2020 and 2021 infill drilling programs completed since the previous MRE. Since the 2019 PEA, there has been significant progress in the geological understanding of the deposit due to infill drilling programs conducted on the Project. Most of the drilling was dedicated to infill drilling to convert Inferred resources to Indicated category for inclusion in this Feasibility Study ("FS").

Table 2. La Plata Project Mineral Resource Statement as of August 1 st , 2023

Resource Classification Tonnes (t)
(Mt)
CuEq (%) Au (g/t) Ag (g/t) Cu (%) Pb (%) Zn (%)
Indicated
North Block 1.148 5.21 2.61 30 2.44 0.36 2.66
South Block 1.014 6.00 3.79 56 1.84 0.70 3.85
Guatuza 0.183 2.66 0.75 9 1.78 0.10 1.04
Total 2.345 5.36 2.98 40 2.13 0.49 3.05
Inferred
North Block 0.022 3.43 2.16 29 0.97 0.43 2.54
South Block 0.308 3.24 1.81 42 0.91 0.44 2.45
Guatuza 0.051 2.51 1.16 17 1.23 0.19 1.24
Total 0.380 3.16 1.75 38 0.96 0.41 2.29


*Notes on Mineral Resources:
1. The Mineral Resource described above have been prepared in accordance with the CIM Standards (Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum, 2014) and follow the Best Practices outline by the CIM (2019).
2. The Qualified Person (QP) for this Mineral Resource Estimate is Christian Beaulieu, P.Geo. consultant for G Mining Services inc. Mr. Beaulieu is a member of the l'Ordre des géologues du Québec (#1072).
3. The lower cut-offs for reporting underground mineral resources are US$70 NSR for Long Hole and US$90 NSR for Cut and Fill/Room and Pillar projected mining methods. The NSR was calculated based on the following assumptions (described in detail in Section 15 and Table 15.3 of the ucoming Technical Report except for different commodity prices):

Commodity price assumptions: Gold = US$1,900 per ounce, Silver = US$26.50 per ounce, Copper = US$4.50 per lb, Zinc = US$1.40 per lb, Lead = US$0.92 per lb.

Various project related economic assumptions considered, including sale terms and conditions (% payables by metal and concentrate type, treatment and refining costs ($88/dmt, $0.09/lb Cu, $0.60/oz Ag, 0.8% Gold price with min $8/oz Au), penalties ($2/dmt min. for Pb and Zn)), transportation costs ($68/t).
4. Metal grades outlined above have not been adjusted for metallurgical recoveries. Copper Equivalent grade calculation (CuEq) is based on metal prices above and has not been adjusted for metallurgical recoveries or related economic assumptions as presented above.
5. The La Plata deposit has been classified as Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources depending on drill spacing and estimation pass. No Measured Mineral Resources are quoted.
6. Known underground workings have been incorporated into the block model with a zero-density value within voids to exclude them from the resource tabulation.
7. Bulk Density has been estimated in the block model using ID2 from drill core measurements. Other geological units were assigned by lithology and weathering types.
8. A minimum thickness of 1.5 m was used when interpreting the wireframes. Areas of isolated clusters of blocks and where minimum thickness was not reached have been removed from the calculations.
9. The tonnages and grades outlined above are reported inside a block model with a parent block size of 5 m x 5 m x 3 m, and subblocks 1 m x 1 m x 1 m.
10. Tonnage and metal content have been expressed in the metric system, except for gold and silver metal content which is expressed in troy ounces. Tonnages have been rounded to the nearest 1,000 tonnes, and metal content has been rounded to the nearest 100 tonnes or 1,000 ounces. Differences may occur in totals due to rounding.
11. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves as they have not demonstrated economic viability. The quantity and grade of reported inferred mineral resources are uncertain in nature. The QP is not aware of any factors or issues that materially affect the MRE other than normal risks faced by mining projects in the country in terms of environmental, permitting, taxation, socio-economic and marketing factors, and additional risk factors regarding indicated and inferred resources. Political and social factors that may influence the MRE is the current instability in the country of Ecuador related to the recent events tied to drug trafficking, which may affect market perception of the project's risk profile;
12. There is no guarantee Mineral Resources will become Mineral Reserves and no guarantee that Mineral Resources will be mined.

Mineral Reserve Estimate

The mine design and Mineral Reserve estimate were completed to a level appropriate for feasibility studies. The Mineral Reserve estimate stated herein is consistent with the CIM definitions and is suitable for public reporting. As such, the Mineral Reserves are based on Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources and do not include any Inferred Mineral Resources. The Inferred Mineral Resources contained within the mine design are treated as waste.

The Mineral Resources estimate reported below are the basis for the Mineral Reserve Estimate. Only Measured and Indicated Resources are deemed to have sufficient confidence to be used for the Mineral Reserve estimate. Indicated Resources are the basis for the estimate of Probable Mineral Reserves.

The Mineral Reserves for the La Plata Project are estimated at 2.51 Mt, at an average grade of 1.59% Cu, 2.28 g/t Au, 30.41 g/t Ag, 0.36% Pb, and 2.18% Zn, as summarized in Table 3 below.

Table 3. La Plata Project Mineral Reserve Statement as of July 5, 2023

Reserve Category Tonnes (t)
(Mt)
CuEq (%) Au (g/t) Ag (g/t) Cu (%) Pb (%) Zn (%)
Probable
2.51 3.51 2.28 30.41 1.59 0.36 2.18


*Notes on Mineral Reserves:
1. Mineral Reserves are as defined by CIM definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves 2014.
2. The Mineral Reserves were estimated from the Indicated Mineral Resource estimates. Inferred Mineral Resources were not considered to be converted into Mineral Reserve estimates.
3. Mineral Reserves are reported using an NSR breakeven cut-off value of 70 US$/t for bench and fill (Long Hole) and 90 US$/t for Cut and Fill/Room and Pillar projected mining methods;
4. Metal prices used were US$1,800.00/troy ounce Au, US$23.00/troy ounce Ag, US$4.00/lb Cu, US$0.92/lb Pb and US$1.30/lb Zn;
5. Metal grades outlined above have not been adjusted for metallurgical recoveries. Copper Equivalent grade calculation (CuEq) is based on metal prices above and has been adjusted for metallurgical recoveries.
6. The Mineral Reserve estimates were prepared by Mr. Thomas Kelly, RM-SME, president of Andes Colorado Corp., who is a Qualified Person for the estimate and independent of Atico Mining and its subsidiaries. The estimate has an effective date of July 5, 2023;
7. Modifying factors for conversion of resources to reserves included consideration for planned dilution which is based on spatial and geotechnical aspects of the designed stopes and economic zones, additional dilution consideration due to unplanned events, materials handling and other operating aspects, and mining recovery factors. Mineable shapes were used as geometric constraints;
8. Reserves are estimated based on mining material that can be mined, processed and smelted;
9. Values are rounded and may differ from those presented in the press release. Totals may not sum precisely due to rounding;
10. Inclusion of ore blocks in the Mineral Reserve does not guarantee that they will be mined;
11. Figures in the table are rounded to reflect estimate precision; small differences are not regarded as material to the estimate;
12. There is no guarantee that Mineral Reserves will be mined.

Capital and Operating Costs

Capital and operating costs for the La Plata Project were estimated by KCA and Atico Mining, with input from G-Mining for material take-offs and Sinco for infrastructure costs. The scope of these costs includes expenditures for all mining equipment, process facilities, and infrastructure for the project. The estimated capital and operating costs are considered to have an accuracy of +/-15%, and are discussed in greater detail in this Section.

The total capital cost for the Project is US$138 million including VAT (US$121 million without VAT); all VAT is assumed to be fully refundable. The table below presents the capital requirements for the La Plata Project.

Capital Cost Summary

Capital Costs (Excluding VAT)
Initial Capital $91 million
LOM Sustaining Capital $30 million
Total LOM Capital $ 121 million
Working Capital & Initial Fills $2 million
Closure Costs $1 million

The total life of mine operating cost for the Project is US$91.03 per tonne of ore processed, excluding preproduction. The table below presents the operating cost requirements for the La Plata Project.

Operating Cost Summary

Operating Costs (Average LOM)
Mining (moved) $34.38 /Tonne moved
Mining (processed) $44.39 /Tonne processed
Processing & Support $32.40 /Tonne processed
G&A $14.24 /Tonne processed
Total Operating Cost $ 91.03 /Tonne processed

VAT is not included in the operating costs.

Mining Methods

There will be three mining methods used for stoping at La Plata. Given the amorphous shape of the deposit and the associated geotechnical conditions, the stoping methodology will change to adapt to changes in the characteristics of the deposit. The three methods are bench-and-fill (Avoca), room-and-pillar and cut-and-fill.

Avoca mining will be used where the structure is steeply dipping, wider than 2.5 meters, and the RMR is over 40; additionally, each Avoca block requires access from both ends of each block on the drilling sublevel. Bench heights are variable from 10-m to 20-m. A long hole (bench) drill will be used for drilling and the mucking will be by remote controlled scoops. This method is high productivity with low operating costs.

Drift-and-fill mining will be applied in the relatively flat parts of the deposit. Stoping is with the same equipment as mine development (jumbos, scoops, haul trucks) with breasting the faces for high productivity. Pillars of cemented rock fill (CRF) will be left to support the hangingwall and rock mass above the stope blocks. After the first stage of stoping the pillars are mined and the overlying load from the rock mass is transferred to the CRF pillars.

Cut-and-fill mining will be applied to areas where the deposit is too flat to allow for Avoca mining and too steep for room-and-pillar mining. In addition, if the RMR is less than 40 cut-and-fill mining will be used. As with drift-and-fill mining, the equipment fleet for room-and-pillar is the same as the mine development fleet. Lifts advance as breasting lifts after the initial lift which uses a pull round. The fill medium may be waste rock from mine development or CRF, depending upon local circumstances.

Project Economics and Sensitivities

The life of mine production data for the La Plata project is presented in Table 6 below.

Table 6. La Plata Production Data

Production Data
Life of Mine 8.1 Years
Mine Throughput per day 850 Tonnes/day
Mine Throughput per year 310,250 Tonnes/year
Total Tonnes to Crusher 2,506,009 Tonnes
Grade Au (Avg.) 2.28 g/t
Grade Ag (Avg.) 30.41 g/t
Grade Cu (Avg.) 1.59 %
Grade Zn (Avg.) 2.18 %
Total Gold Produced 128,474 Ounces
Total Silver Produced 1,825,143 Ounces
Total Copper Produced 78,297,363 Pounds
Total Zinc Produced 106,869,075 Pounds
Total Payable Gold 114,935 Ounces
Total Payable Silver 1,383,519 Ounces
Total Payable Copper 66,691,030 Pounds
Total Payable Zinc 66,700,898 Pounds
LOM Underground Strip Ratio (W:O) 0.29


The financial analysis for the base-case, which evaluates a stand-alone owner's operation and indicates an after-tax NPV at a 5% discount rate, of US$93M with an IRR of 25.1% and a payback period of 3.4 years 2 . In this scenario the project is expected to generate US$212M pre-tax operating cash flow.

Table 7 and Table 8 below present the financial analysis for the La Plata project.

Table 7. Base Case Financial Analysis

Base-Case
Gold Price Assumption $1,920 /Ounce
Silver Price Assumption $23 /Ounce
Copper Price Assumption $4.05 /Pound
Zinc Price Assumption $1.50 /Pound
Average Annual Cashflow (Pre-Tax) $38 million
Average Annual Cashflow (After-Tax) $31 million
Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Pre-Tax 32.9%
Internal Rate of Return (IRR), After-Tax 25.1%
NPV @ 5% (Pre-Tax) $137 million
NPV @ 5% (After-Tax) $93 million
Pay-Back Period (Rears based on After-Tax) 3.4 Years


Table 8. Sensitivity analysis to current metal prices.

June 2024 Average Prices
Gold Price Assumption $2,325 /Ounce
Silver Price Assumption $29 /Ounce
Copper Price Assumption $4.45 /Pound
Zinc Price Assumption $1.27 /Pound
Average Annual Cashflow (Pre-Tax) $46 million
Average Annual Cashflow (After-Tax) $35 million
Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Pre-Tax 41.8%
Internal Rate of Return (IRR), After-Tax 31.3%
NPV @ 5% (Pre-Tax) $184 million
NPV @ 5% (After-Tax) $123 million
Pay-Back Period (Rears based on After-Tax) 2.8 Years


Qualified Person

The definitive feasibility study was prepared by leading independent industry consultants. The Qualified Persons who prepared the June 2024 NI 43-101 Technical Report are:

  • Travis Manning
  • Thomas Kelly
  • Christian Beaulieu
  • Neil Lincoln
  • Donald Hickson
  • Felipe Riquelme
  • Adam Johnston

The QPs have reviewed and approved the content of this news release.

The following consultants participated in the Study:

  • Kappes, Cassiday & Associates
  • Andes Colorado Corp.
  • G Mining
  • Envis
  • Transmin
  • IMSS
  • Sinco

The NI 43-101 Technical Report will be filed on SEDAR+ within 45 days of this press release.

About Atico Mining Corporation

Atico is a growth-oriented Company, focused on exploring, developing and mining copper and gold projects in Latin America. The Company generates significant cash flow through the operation of the El Roble mine and is developing its high-grade La Plata VMS project in Ecuador. The Company is also pursuing additional acquisition of advanced stage opportunities. For more information, please visit www.aticomining.com.

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD

Fernando E. Ganoza
CEO
Atico Mining Corporation
Trading symbols: TSX.V: ATY | OTC: ATCMF

Investor Relations
Igor Dutina
Tel: +1.604.633.9022

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

No securities regulatory authority has either approved or disapproved of the contents of this news release. The securities being offered have not been, and will not be, registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the ‘‘U.S. Securities Act''), or any state securities laws, and may not be offered or sold in the United States, or to, or for the account or benefit of, a "U.S. person" (as defined in Regulation S of the U.S. Securities Act) unless pursuant to an exemption therefrom. This press release is for information purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities of the Company in any jurisdiction.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward Looking Statements

This announcement includes certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein, without limitation the use of net proceeds, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties and are based on certain factors and assumptions. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations include uncertainties relating to interpretation of drill results and the geology, continuity and grade of mineral deposits; uncertainty of estimates of capital and operating costs; the need to obtain additional financing to maintain its interest in and/or explore and develop the Company's mineral projects; uncertainty of meeting anticipated program milestones for the Company's mineral projects; the world-wide economic and social impact of COVID-19 is managed and the duration and extent of the coronavirus pandemic is minimized or not long-term; disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic or other health and safety issues, or the responses of governments, communities, the Company and others to such pandemic or other issues; and other risks and uncertainties disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the prospectus of the Company dated March 2, 2012 filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities on the SEDAR+ website at www.sedarplus.ca

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release refers to All In Sustaining Cost (AISC) a non-GAAP financial measures which is used by the Company for project evaluation and operating performance. These measures are widely reported in the mining industry but do not have a standardized meaning and may differ from methods used by other companies with similar descriptions. The Company believes that certain investors use these non-GAAP financial measures to evaluate the Company's operations. Accordingly, non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.   Readers should refer to Non-GAAP Financial Measures in the Company's Management's Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2023, as filed on SEDAR and as available on the Company's website for further details.

______________________________

1 * Alternative performance measures; please refer to "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" at the end of this release.

2 Calculated from the date of declaration of commercial production which is after plant commissioning and production ramp-up to full nameplate capacity.


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/9b60f552-92ee-4110-94bf-f516e54f6fb6


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FPX Nickel Reports Value Engineering Studies Outlining Improvements in Mineral Processing Facilities and Validating PFS Project Schedule

FPX Nickel Reports Value Engineering Studies Outlining Improvements in Mineral Processing Facilities and Validating PFS Project Schedule

 FPX Nickel Corp. (TSXV: FPX) (OTCQB: FPOCF) (" FPX " or the " Company ") is pleased to provide an update on value engineering (" Value Engineering ") studies focused on the mineral processing and infrastructure facilities for the Baptiste Nickel Project (" Baptiste " or " the Project ") in central British Columbia .  The mineral processing and infrastructure Value Engineering studies have achieved significant value creation through facility optimization, flowsheet refinement, enhanced operability, and improvements to the project build strategy and execution basis.

FPX Nickel logo (CNW Group/FPX Nickel Corp.)

Highlights

  • Primary crushing: Changing from a gyratory-type primary crusher to mineral sizers has reduced earthwork and structural quantities, improved Phase 1 operability, and eliminated the need for a second primary crushing circuit in Phase 2
  • Concentrator expansion: A new integrated approach to the Phase 2 expansion has reduced overall quantities, improved Phase 2 operability, and reduced the footprint of process and infrastructure facilities
  • Project phasing: The phased approach and throughput rates in the preliminary feasibility study (" PFS ") have been validated, while acceleration of the Phase 2 expansion improves Baptiste's metal production profile
  • Execution schedule has been confirmed, further validating the PFS's estimated three-year construction duration

"Results from our mineral process and infrastructure Value Engineering studies have added significant value to the Baptiste Nickel Project," commented Andrew Osterloh , the Company's Senior Vice President, Projects & Operations.  "By reducing quantities, improving operating efficiency, and advancing the project execution plan, we have enhanced Baptiste's potential as a long life, large-scale, low-cost, and low-carbon producer of made-in- Canada nickel units. We look forward to advancing additional engineering studies on the mining and refinery aspects of the Project in advance of commencing a feasibility study."

Background

The Baptiste 2023 preliminary feasibility study (" PFS ") demonstrates the potential to develop a high-margin and low-carbon nickel mine producing an average of 59,100 tonnes per year of nickel over a 29-year mine life (see the Company's September 6, 2023 news release).  Due to awaruite's properties, Baptiste has the unparalleled flexibility to produce either a high-grade concentrate (60% nickel) for direct feed into the stainless steel industry (the " Base Case ") or for further refining into battery-grade nickel, cobalt, and copper products for the electric vehicle battery supply chain (the " Refinery Option ").

While the PFS presents robust economics, including a Base Case after-tax NPV 8% of US$2.01 Billion and after-tax IRR of 18.6% at US$8.75 /lb Ni, FPX strives to add further value to Baptiste, focusing on a holistic blend of economics, constructability, operability, risk and ESG considerations.

The key Value Engineering studies pursued by FPX in 2024 are:

  • Mineral processing and infrastructure (described herein)
  • Mine planning and engineering (to be completed in the third quarter of 2024)
  • Refinery planning (to be completed in the third quarter of 2024)

Mineral Processing & Infrastructure Value Engineering Studies

FPX engaged Fluor Canada Ltd. (" Fluor ") and Wood Canada Ltd. (" Wood ") to perform detailed reviews of the 2023 PFS and to conduct mineral process and infrastructure Value Engineering studies.  The consultants identified three primary opportunities to add further value, which are described in greater detail hereunder:

  • Primary crushing: application of mineral sizers
  • Phase 2 concentrator expansion
  • Project phasing

As described below, each of the mineral process and infrastructure Value Engineering studies validated several key tenets from the PFS and added significant project value through reduced quantities, improved operability, reduced process operating costs, and reduced process and infrastructure footprint.

Primary Crushing

The PFS considered a gyratory-type primary crusher.  In re-evaluating the Project's geotechnical and communication datasets, the Company has identified an opportunity to use mineral sizers for primary crushing.  Taking advantage of the modest compressive strength and fractured nature of the Baptiste ore, mineral sizers have added significant value through reduced earthwork and structural quantities, increased operating availability, and the complete elimination of the second primary crushing line for the planned mine expansion from an initial Phase 1 processing throughput of 108,000 tonnes per day (" tpd ") to 162,000 tpd in Year 10 (" Phase 2 ").

Phase 2 Concentrator Expansion

The PFS considered the construction of a standalone processing facility for the Phase 2 expansion from 108,000 tpd to 162,000 tpd.  A new approach to expansion is based on an integrated concentrator approach which entails an expansion of the Phase 1 processing facility rather than the construction of a new standalone facility for Phase 2. This integrated approach results in a reduced process and infrastructure footprint, improved Phase 2 operability, and reduced Phase 2 work force requirements.

Project Phasing

A Value Engineering study re-evaluated the phased approach to processing throughput and compared it with a series of single-build scenarios ranging from 80,000 to 163,000 tpd.  Following this evaluation, the PFS's phased approach has been validated; however, the Phase 2 expansion has been accelerated to Year 6 from Year 10.  This acceleration in metal production is expected to generate improved economics versus the PFS, with the Phase 2 expansion funded from operating free cash flow following the 3.7 year after-tax payback demonstrated in the PFS.

Project Execution

Both Fluor and Wood were assigned further scope to review the PFS's execution basis, including the permanent facility layout, construction sequence, contracting approach, and overall execution schedule. Note that Fluor and Wood jointly executed the detailed engineering and construction management of the nearby Mt. Milligan Mine, which was commissioned in 2013 and is located 80 km east of Baptiste. Mt. Milligan is of comparable size and complexity to Baptiste, which uniquely positions Fluor and Wood to provide relevant context to the Baptiste project execution plan.

Through this additional execution planning effort, numerous scheduling improvements to the PFS were identified, thereby improving the constructability, operability, and maintainability of Baptiste.  In addition, increased focus on allowances for temporary construction facilities has improved execution scope assurance ahead of the environmental assessment  and permitting processes.  Fundamentally, these robust execution planning efforts further de-risk the Baptiste execution schedule, including the PFS assumption of a three-year construction period.

Andrew Osterloh , P.Eng., FPX Nickel's Qualified Person under NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical content of this news release.

About the Decar Nickel District

The Company's Baptiste Nickel Project represents a large-scale greenfield discovery of nickel mineralization in the form of a sulphur-free, nickel-iron mineral called awaruite (Ni 3 Fe) hosted in an ultramafic/ophiolite complex.  The Baptiste mineral claims cover an area of 408 km 2 west of Middle River and north of Trembleur Lake, in central British Columbia.  In addition to the Baptiste Deposit itself, awaruite mineralization has been confirmed through drilling at several target areas within the same claims package, most notably at the Van Target which is located 6 km to the north of the Baptiste Deposit.  Since 2010, approximately US $30 million has been spent on the exploration and development of Baptiste.

The Baptiste Deposit is located within the Baptiste Creek watershed, on the traditional territories of the Tl'azt'en Nation and the Binche Whut'en, and within several Tl'azt'enne and Binche Whut'enne keyohs. FPX has conducted mineral exploration activities to date subject to the conditions of agreements with First Nations and keyoh holders.

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 distinctive style of awaruite nickel-iron mineralization.  For more information, please view the Company's website at https://fpxnickel.com/ or contact Martin Turenne , President and CEO, at (604) 681-8600 or ceo@fpxnickel.com .

On behalf of FPX Nickel Corp.

"Martin Turenne"
Martin Turenne , President, CEO and Director

Forward-Looking Statements

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.

SOURCE FPX Nickel Corp.

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