Base Metals

FPX Nickel Corp. is pleased to announce results from Phase 1 of an ongoing three-phase metallurgical test program to support the continued development of the Company's Baptiste Nickel Project at the Decar Nickel District in central British Columbia.  The metallurgical test program is aimed at validating and optimizing the flowsheet outlined in the Project's 2020 Preliminary Economic Assessment and to support the ...

FPX Nickel Corp. (TSXV: FPX) (OTCQB: FPOCF) (" FPX " or the " Company ") is pleased to announce results from Phase 1 of an ongoing three-phase metallurgical test program to support the continued development of the Company's Baptiste Nickel Project (" Baptiste " or the " Project ") at the Decar Nickel District in central British Columbia.  The metallurgical test program is aimed at validating and optimizing the flowsheet outlined in the Project's 2020 Preliminary Economic Assessment (" PEA "), and to support the development of a preliminary feasibility study (" PFS ").

Highlights

  • Phase 1 testwork has confirmed the PEA flowsheet and has indicated the potential to achieve nickel recoveries up to 5% higher than the 85% Davis Tube Recoverable ("DTR") nickel recovery assumed in the 2020 PEA
    • Comminution testing has confirmed Baptiste material as being consistent, medium-hard to hard, and mildly abrasive across all mining phases, pointing toward a consistent grinding requirement in sync with the PEA basis
    • Pilot-scale grinding and primary magnetic separation testing indicated:
      • Nickel recoveries up to 5% higher than those observed in previous bench-scale testing, owing to the preferential grinding of the deposit's dense awaruite nickel mineralization via cyclone classification
      • Cyclone classification may also result in a reduction of recovered mass in the primary magnetic separation circuit, thereby reducing regrind requirements
    • Pilot-scale cleaner magnetic separation has confirmed the ability to create a magnetics-only feed to the flotation circuit, thereby confirming the starting point for previous flotation testwork and the PEA basis
  • Phase 2 testwork is underway, focusing on validation and optimization of flotation parameters to confirm the production of a high-grade nickel concentrate, as well as the potential production of a by-product iron ore concentrate, with results anticipated in the first quarter of 2022
  • Phase 3 testwork will commence shortly, including hydrometallurgical testwork to validate battery material supply chain integration, larger-scale pilot testing to crystalize Phase 1's indicated recovery benefits, and variability testing, with results anticipated in the third quarter of 2022

"The scale-up from bench- to pilot-scale testing has not only confirmed the effectiveness of Baptiste's PEA flowsheet, but also revealed the potential to improve nickel recovery by up to 5% over the PEA basis," commented Martin Turenne , FPX Nickel's President and CEO. "By introducing conventional cyclone classification into the process test work, we can better estimate the expected nickel recovery in a full-scale operation.  In the case of the Baptiste deposit, significant upside to liberation is observed due to hydro-cyclone classification and the associated preferential grinding due to the dense nature of Baptiste's awaruite nickel mineralization.  It is estimated that every percentage point increase in recovery yields a US$56 million improvement in after-tax NPV 8% , based on PEA metrics."

Three-Phase Metallurgical Testwork Program

Figure 1 shows the Baptiste nickel recovery flowsheet as presented in the PEA.   Highlighted within this figure are the key work elements from the overall three-phase metallurgical program.

Figure 1 – Proposed Flowsheet for Baptiste Nickel Recovery and Upgrading

Phase 1 of the metallurgical testwork program, the results of which are described herein, had the following key objectives:

  • Development of robust comminution criteria to define the best value comminution technology
  • Validation of the primary magnetic separation grade-recovery relationship to confirm the coarse primary grind size (P 80 of 300 mm) and pre-concentration (rejection of 85% of fresh plant feed in the primary magnetic separation stage)
  • Confirming the ability to create a magnetics-only flotation feed to validate the PEA's efficient, modestly-sized, 2-stage flotation process

The objectives of the Phase 2 and 3 metallurgical testwork programs are described in the final section of this news release.

Phase 1 Testwork – Description & Results

Phase 1 of the Baptiste metallurgical testwork program was conducted at several laboratories and overseen by Jeffrey B. Austin , P.Eng., President of International Metallurgical and Environmental Inc.  Table 1 presents a summary of the Phase 1 testwork program, including general scope assignment by laboratory.

Table 1 – Phase 1 Metallurgical Test Program Scope Assignments

Lab

Scope

ALS Metallurgy

Kamloops, BC

SAG milling and Ball Mill comminution tests

UBC

Vancouver, BC

HPGR pilot-scale testing

Corem

Quebec City, QC

HPGR pilot-scale testing

SGS Mineral Services

Lakefield, ON

Pilot- and bench-scale magnetic separation testing for nickel recovery

Sample generation for the Phase 2 metallurgical testwork program

Comminution Testwork

The Company completed diverse test programs on a variety of representative samples to characterize the performance of Baptiste material under multiple crushing and grinding scenarios.  The key takeaways from this testwork include:

  • SAG mill testing results indicate consistent, medium-hard material across the deposit, suggesting relatively stable SAG mill throughput
  • Ball mill testing results indicate consistent, medium-hard to hard material, with an approximately 10% lower hardness profile in mining phase 1 (first 17 years of mining) versus the later phases of the mine life
  • Abrasion testing results indicate consistent, mildly abrasive material, thereby reducing operating consumables
  • Test results suggest that SAG milling may emerge as the best value comminution technology for Baptiste, which could lead to lower capital intensity than the HPGR approach in the PEA

Comminution testwork included grindability testwork conducted at ALS Kamloops and pilot-scale HPGR testwork conducted at both UBC and Corem.  Grindability testwork utilized six new composite samples representing the PEA's three major mining phases.  Pilot-scale HPGR testing at UBC and Corem utilized a newly created life-of-mine master composite created from historic drill core.

SAG Mill Comminution (" SMC ") testwork results confirm the Baptiste material is medium-hard from a SAG milling perspective.  Across all phases of the mine life, Axb values are tightly-clustered in the range of 41.4-48.0.  Similarly, SAG Circuit Specific Energy (" SCSE ") values are tightly-clustered in the range of 9.1-9.7 kWh/t.  There does not appear to be a discernible trend for SMC values throughput the resource, supporting the conclusion that the deposit is largely homogeneous for potential SAG mill throughput.

Ball mill work index testwork results confirm the Baptiste material is medium-hard to hard from a ball milling perspective.  Phase 1 material represents the first 17 years of mining and is medium-hard, with tightly-clustered values ranging from 19.6-20.9 kWh/t.  Phase 2 material represent the northern extension of the deposit along the resource axis and is harder with values ranging from 22.5-22.9 kWh/t, representing an approximate 10% increase as compared to Phase 1.  Phase 3 material is drawn from an area immediately adjacent to the Phase 1 mining area and has a similar hardness value of 20.6 kWh/t.

Abrasion index (" Ai ") testwork results confirm the Baptiste material has low abrasivity.  Measured Ai values averaged 0.007, with a maximum value of 0.010.  The low abrasion index value is expected to result in comparable operating consumable consumption to other existing large-scale SAG mill circuit processing ultramafic material, which is generally lower than comparably sized porphyry (or similar) operations.

HPGR specific throughput (" m-dot ") values observed in both the UBC and Corem testing were consistent between the two test facilities, peaking at approximately 200 ts/hm 3 .  While the measured values are lower than the PEA's assumed specific throughput of 300 ts/hm 3 , they benchmark well with operating values for other ultramafic ores processed by HPGR.

The Company has initiated a comminution trade-off study to evaluate the impact of the new comminution data on project design and project economics.   It is anticipated that the Phase 1 results, low cost of power, and low abrasivity will likely see SAG milling emerge as the best value comminution technology for Baptiste, which could lead to lower capital intensity than the HPGR approach in the PEA.

As part of Phase 3, additional comminution testwork will be conducted in 2022 to further expand the comminution database for the Baptiste project, with a particular focus on variability in the first ten years of mining.

Magnetic Separation Testwork

The Company conducted bench- and pilot-scale nickel recovery testwork at SGS Mineral Services in Lakefield , Ontario.  The objective of pilot-scale testwork was twofold: to validate bench-scale results and to evaluate potential process improvements which may be realized through plant-scale grinding.  In particular, pilot-scale testing was designed to test the view, as described in the PEA, that full-scale operation of a grinding plant, with cyclones for classification, will result in significantly better liberation of dense minerals than what can be achieved at the bench-scale, owing to the manner in which mineral density impacts classification sizes at larger processing scales.

Primary grind and magnetic separation testwork at SGS Lakefield utilized a new 2,400 kg master composite created from crushed assay rejects.  The master composite sample graded 0.118% Davis Tube Recoverable (" DTR ") nickel, compared with the life-of-mine average 0.123% DTR Ni grade of the processing feed in the 2020 PEA.  Note that DTR is an industry standard measure of quantifying the magnetic mineral content of a sample, and that the nickel mineral awaruite is strongly magnetic and readily recoverable in a magnetic separator.  Total nickel grades for the Baptiste resource are consistently in the range of 0.20-0.23% total nickel.

Bench-Scale Magnetic Separation Testwork

Table 2 provides a summary of primary magnetic separation testing results at a variety of grind sizes in comparison to the criteria established in the 2020 PEA.

Table 2 – Bench-Scale Magnetic Separation Test Program Results


Grind Size, P 80 (mm)

Recovery, DTR Ni (%)

PEA Criteria

300

90.0

2021 Met Program, Bench-Scale

152

94.5

327

88.6

491

87.0

These 2021 bench-scale results have confirmed key PEA recovery criteria.  This is an important result, particularly considering the PEA criteria were based on the 2017/18 metallurgical testwork program which utilized a composite which had a 0.158% DTR Ni grade, while this 2021 testing utilized the new master composite which has a 0.118% DTR Ni grade (approximately 25% lower).

At the same time, mass pulls and concentrate grades were higher and lower than PEA criteria, respectively.  This is likely due to selectively issues owing to lower-than-optimal magnetic separator feed rates during bench-scale testing.  As such, increased focus was applied to magnetic separator operating conditions during subsequent pilot-scale testing (see below).

Pilot-Scale Magnetic Separation Testwork

Pilot-scale testing was conducted to evaluate the upside recovery potential posed by cyclone classification through preferential grinding of the dense minerals, including awaruite (specific gravity of 7.3) and magnetite (specific gravity of 5.4).    Preferential grinding of dense minerals in cyclone classification is common in several mineral processing operations, including gold, lead, copper and iron operations.

Two pilot-scale runs were conducted using cyclone classification in a standard grinding circuit configuration.  These pilot-scale test results showed reduced tailings losses for nickel when materials are classified with a cyclone.  The use of cyclone classification also demonstrated that circulation of dense minerals leads to a build-up of magnetite and awaruite within the milling circuit. This confounded overall metal accounting for the pilot-scale test run durations; however, it is anticipated that the longer and higher throughput pilot-scale test runs planned for Phase 3 of the metallurgical program will resolve this challenge.   A single pilot plant test was also performed using a classifying screen in place of the cyclone to provide comparison results.

Key results from pilot scale testing are presented in Table 3 below, including data for pilot operation with classification by cyclone and screen.

Table 3 – Pilot-Scale Magnetic Separation Test Program Results

Testing Method

Classification
Method

Grind Size,
P 80 (mm)

Mass
Pull (%)

Tail Grade,
DTR Ni (%)

Recovery,
DTR Ni (%)

PEA Criteria

n/a (batch ground)

300

15

0.010

90.0

2021 Met Program, Pilot-Scale

Cyclone

245

13.2

0.005

96.3

Cyclone

133

15.8

0.006

95.7

Screen

256

17.5

0.007

95.1

The observed differences in tailings grades when using different methods of feed preparation was expected based on past experience and the observed mineralogical composition of the Baptiste deposit.  Comparing the calculated recoveries in pilot-scale testwork as compared to PEA recovery criteria, it is likely that nickel recovery in bench-scale testwork underestimated the full-scale recovery potential by up to 5% of DTR nickel.

With improved magnetic separator operating conditions, mass pulls aligned with PEA criteria, at approximately 15%.  This result, in tandem with the lower tailings grade during the pilot-scale tests, suggests the potential to achieve similar mass pulls and concentrate grades as those assumed in the PEA.

Building on these positive pilot plant results, additional pilot-scale testwork will be conducted in Phase 3 of the metallurgical testwork program.  This testwork will utilize higher throughput rates and longer durations to ensure steady state, repeatable conditions are realized.  In tandem with a bench-scale variability program, validation of the favourable pilot-scale results should confirm an improved DTR recovery basis for use in a PFS for the Project.

Regrind & Cleaner Magnetic Separation Testwork

As noted in the PEA, and as demonstrated in bench-scale testwork conducted in 2017-18, regrinding of the primary magnetic separation concentrate and additional magnetic separation upgrading can produce a high-grade concentrate of magnetite and awaruite.  This serves as an ideal feed to the two-stage separation flotation process as presented in the PEA.

Approximately 60 kilograms of high-grade magnetic concentrate was produced for use in detailed flotation testwork at SGS Mineral Services in Burnaby , B.C.  This concentrate graded approximately 2.2% nickel and 54% iron, which is comparable to samples used for the PEA's flotation testwork.

While the use of cyclone classification indicates increased nickel recovery, it will also likely alter the mineralogical characteristics of the primary magnetic separation concentrate and the subsequent regrind requirements for upgrading magnetite and awaruite.  Investigative testwork has shown that recovery of more fine awaruite-containing material requires finer regrinding to maintain the high-grade nature of the magnetic concentrate prior to flotation.

As described below, Phase 3 testwork will better define the regrind requirements during larger-scale pilot testing.  During this testing, it is anticipated the same preferential classification witnessed in pilot-scale primary grinding will similarly prove beneficial to regrind requirements.

Phase 2 Testwork

Phase 2 of the metallurgical testwork program commenced in November, and it is expected that results will be reported in the first quarter of 2022.  Phase 2 will focus on:

  • Confirming the production of a high-grade nickel concentrate by froth flotation. The initial flotation tests will focus on validating PEA criteria, followed by subsequent flotation tests to optimize flotation conditions
  • Evaluating the potential for producing a saleable iron ore concentrate, which represents a potential new product stream which was not included in the 2020 PEA

Phase 3 Testwork

Phase 3 of the metallurgical testwork program is scheduled to commence in December, and it is expected that results will be reported in the third quarter of 2022.  Phase 3 will focus on:

  • Confirming Phase 1 recovery opportunities through larger-scale pilot testing, for both primary grind and magnetic separation, as well as regrind and cleaner magnetic separation
  • Demonstrating a robust and efficient integration into the battery material supply chain by optimizing previous leach testwork and conducting solvent extraction and NiSO 4 crystallization testwork
  • Conducting suitable variability testwork with a focus on the first 10 years of mining, confirming Baptiste homogeneity and informing PFS criteria and design factors

Qualified Person

The metallurgical information in this news release has been prepared in accordance with Canadian regulatory requirements set our 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 km 2 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 (Ni 3 Fe), 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, and the B, Sid and Van targets, as confirmed by drilling in the first three plus petrographic examination, electron probe analyses and outcrop sampling on all four.  Since 2010, approximately US $28 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 focus of diamond drilling since 2010, with a total of 82 holes and over 31,000 m of drilling completed.  The Sid target was tested with two holes in 2010 and the B target had a single hole drilled 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 bedrock exposures in the area were very poor prior to more recent logging activity.

In 2021, the Company executed a very successful maiden drilling program at Van, which has returned promising results comparable with the strongest results at Baptiste.

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.

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.

View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/December2021/08/c2973.html

News Provided by Canada Newswire via QuoteMedia

FPX Nickel

FPX Nickel

Overview

Nickel plays a vital role in electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing, a sector that sees rapid expansion year after year. Market research projects a growing nickel demand to reach upwards of 1.3 million metric tonnes per annum by 2030 as nickel content in electric vehicles increases to over 40 kilograms per car battery.

Despite its significant role in powering a global shift to greener energies, analysts also project an undersupply of nickel for the next several years due to decreasing production and a lack of new active mines. Mining companies operating high-grade nickel projects offer investors exposure to a market that has great economic growth and success potential.

One such company is FPX Nickel (TSXV: FPX) (OTXQB: FPOCF), focused on exploring and developing its wholly-owned advanced development-stage Tier 1 Baptiste project in the Decar Nickel District in central British Columbia. The company’s project developments demonstrate the Decar Nickel District’s potential to supply high-concentration nickel and cobalt sulfates suitable for the growing electric vehicle battery industry as well as more traditional markets for nickel such as stainless steel.

FPX Nickel Decar Nickel District

The Decar Nickel District hosts the Baptiste project, which leverages an existing 2020 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) and mineral resource estimate. Together, these NI 43-101 compliant reports show the Baptiste project has the potential to become one of the world’s largest-scale, lowest-cost nickel producers. The positive geological interpretation of the Van target at Decar offers further blue sky potential for the Decar property.

FPX Nickel Decar Nickel District

The Decar Nickel District project has the potential to mimic the successes of its geographic neighbors such as New Gold’s (TSX:NGD, NYSEMKT:NGD) CAD$1.8 billion Blackwater Gold open-pit project, which recently received federal and provincial environmental assessment certificates, a key milestone on the path to becoming a fully-permitted mine.

FPX Nickel released an updated PEA for the Baptiste project in 2020. According to the report, at the PEA base case of US$7.75 /lb nickel, the Baptiste Project is expected to generate an after-tax net present value of US$1.7 billion and an after-tax internal rate of return of 18.3 percent.

Additionally, the company closed $16.1 million in a bought deal public offering in April 2021. FPX Nickel intends to put net proceeds of the financing towards the exploration and development of the Baptiste nickel project.

The Baptiste project presents FPX Nickel with the potential to produce refined nickel with a significantly lower carbon footprint than other sources of production in the global nickel industry. Recent leach testing of awaruite nickel concentrates produced from Baptiste achieved nickel recoveries of 98.8 percent to 99.5 percent in producing a high-purity chemical solution containing 69.4 to 70.1 g/L nickel.

One of FPX Nickel’s long-term goals for the Baptiste project is to build a carbon-neutral mining operation. In keeping with that goal, FPX Nickel and mining companies such as Anglo American majority-owned (LSE:AAL,OTCQX:AAUKF) DeBeers and Canada’s Government has co-founded a multi-university led research program aimed at studying carbon capture and storage at mining sites.

FPX Nickel Decar Nickel District

FPX Nickel’s management team consists of highly experienced capital markets and mining professionals, including chairman of the Board, Dr. Peter Bradshaw and director Rob Pease. With nearly five decades of mineral exploration experience across 30 countries, Dr. Bradshaw has made numerous key discoveries earning him the honorable distinction of being a Member of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame.

Additionally, geologist Rob Pease has more than 30 years of experience in exploration, mine development and construction, including as the former CEO of Terrane Metals during the development of the Mt. Milligan copper-gold mine was later acquired by Thompson Creek for C$650 million. Pease also served as the former director of Richfield Ventures, which was acquired along with the Blackwater Gold project by New Gold for CAD$500 million.

FPX Nickel’s Company Highlights

  • FPX Nickel is a Canadian resource company focused on exploring and developing its wholly-owned advanced development-stage Baptiste nickel project in the Decar Nickel District, central British Columbia.
  • The company favorably leverages a low-cost operation and mining best practices. It operates one of the few major nickel deposits in the mining-friendly jurisdiction of British Columbia.
  • The Baptiste property hosts high-grade nickel mineralization with low impurities and little to no sulfides. This production-quality asset has potential applications for direct feed to stainless steel or the electric vehicle battery market, with recoveries coming in at 98.8 percent to 99.5 percent.
  • FPX Nickel operates a tight share structure consisting largely of management and other strategic high net-worth and institutional shareholders at approximately 18.5 percent and 35 percent holding, respectively.
  • Baptiste’s amended PEA highlights the project’s potential to be among the world’s lowest-cost nickel mines in operating costs and capital intensity.

FPX Nickel’s Key Projects

FPX Nickel Decar Nickel District

Decar Nickel District – Baptiste Project

The Decar Nickel District covers 245 square kilometers and 80 kilometers west of the Mt. Milligan mine, central British Columbia. The property hosts the highly prospective Baptiste nickel project, which has the potential to become the world’s best development-stage nickel project. The asset is accessible via logging and paved road, with railway and hydropower nearby.

In February 2021, the company released results from initial field tests, demonstrating the potential for significant direct air carbon capture in the tailings on the property. “These exciting results mark an important step in our objective to develop Baptiste as the world’s first large-scale, carbon-neutral nickel operation,” commented FPX Nickel president and CEO Martin Turenne.

FPX Nickel Decar Nickel District

Baptiste hosts nickel-iron alloy mineralization, bulk-tonnage potential and open-pit nickel mining possibilities across its four primary targets. Exploration has also indicated resources at an average grade of 0.123 percent DTR nickel for 2.3 million tonnes and 391 million tonnes of inferred resources with an average grade of 0.115 percent DTR nickel. Its main Van target is drill-ready with advantageously mild-pressure leaching conditions.

Since 2010, FPX Nickel has spent approximately CAD$25 million in the exploration and development of Decar. The company put this funding towards surface sampling, PEA reporting, processing plant construction and diamond drilling campaigns.

FPX Nickel’s Management Team

Martin Turenne, CA - President, CEO & Director

Martin Turenne is a senior executive with over 15 years of experience in the commodities industry, including over five years in the mining industry. He has extensive leadership experience in strategic management, fundraising, economic analysis, financial reporting, regulatory compliance and corporate tax. Turenne formerly served as CFO of First Point Minerals Corp. from 2012 to 2015 and in positions at KPMG LLP and Methanex Corporation. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Erin Wilson P. Geo - Principal Geologist

Ms. Wilson has over 18 years' experience in exploration, resource and mine geology. In her previous role as the Chief Mine Geologist for Pure Gold Mining, she had oversight and responsibility for mine site geological and block models, working with senior management in developing geological work programs and managing a strong safety culture in compliance with company policies and occupational health and safety regulations. Prior to joining Pure Gold Mining, Ms. Wilson worked in a number of roles for Goldcorp and Newmont at the Red Lake Gold Mines for nine years. As the lead Exploration Geologist and Production Geologist at the Couchenour Project, she developed and managed multi-million dollar work programs, supervising geological site personnel and integrating drill results for the growth of mineral reserves and resources at the project.

Trevor Rabb, P.Geo. - Consulting Geologist

Trevor Rabb is a professional geologist with over ten years of experience in mineral exploration, including over five years specializing in nickel-iron alloy deposits. Rabb formerly served as First Point’s senior geologist and VP of Exploration from 2010 to 2016. He was a crucial player in exploration discoveries for First Point’s Decar, Mich, Wale and Klow properties.

Christopher Mitchell, P.Eng., MBA - CFO & Corporate Secretary

Christopher Mitchell is a business consultant with more than 40 years of experience in the mineral industry. He served as senior VP of Viceroy Resource Corp., executive VP and CFO of Orvana Minerals Corp. Mitchell holds MBA and M.Sc. degrees, University of British Columbia and is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of British Columbia. He is also a director of Endurance Gold Corp.

Dr. Peter M. D. Bradshaw, P.Eng. - Chairman

Dr. Peter Bradshaw is a geologist with 45 years of international mineral exploration experience in over 30 countries with Barringer Research, Placer Dome and Orvana Minerals. He is a member of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. Dr. Bradshaw’s key discoveries and projects he was directly involved with include: Porgera Gold Mine, Papua New Guinea; Kidston Gold Mine, Queensland, Australia; Misima Gold Mine, Papua New Guinea; Big Bell Gold Mine, Western Australia; Omai Gold Mine, Guyana; Decar Nickel Project, British Columbia, Canada; director of Aquila Resources; co-founder and first chairman of the Mineral Deposit Research Unit, University of British Columbia.

Rob Pease, P. Geo. - Director

Rob Pease is a geologist with over 30 years of experience in exploration, mine development and construction. He served as the former CEO of Terrane Metals, acquired by Thompson Creek for CAD$650 million. Pease also served as the former director of Richfield Ventures, acquired by New Gold for CAD$500 million. He is a Director of Pure Gold Mining Inc. and Liberty Gold Corp.

William H. Myckatyn - Director

William Myckatyn is a mining engineer with over 34 years of experience in the mining industry. Myckatyn is the founder and CEO of Quadra Mining Ltd. He served as chairman and subsequently co-chairman of Quadra FNX Mining until its takeover in 2012. Prior, Myckatyn was chairman, president and CEO of Dayton Mining Corp., where he led the restructuring and merger with Pacific Rim Mining Corp. He also served as the former president and CEO of Princeton Mining and Gibraltar Mines Ltd. For over 17 years, he worked for various operations controlled by Placer Dome Inc. and its associated predecessor companies, including four separate mines in Australia and the Philippines. He is a director of San Marco Resources and OceanaGold.

Peter Marshall, P. Eng. - Director

Peter Marshall is a mining engineer with 30 years of experience in mine development and construction. Marshall was formerly VP of Project Development at New Gold and SVP Project Development at Terrane Metals. He has extensive mine development experience in central British Columbia, including completing the Blackwater gold project feasibility study and development and early construction of Mt. Milligan copper-gold mine, acquired by Thompson Creek for CAD$650 million in 2010.

James S. Gilbert, MBA - Director

James Gilbert has more than 30 years of investment and transaction execution experience, with more than 20 years focused on the international mining and metals industry. Gilbert held senior management positions with Rothschild, Gerald Metals Inc. and Minera S.A., a private mining investment company. His experience covers mergers and acquisitions, debt and equity financing, off-take and specialty refining agreements, joint venture negotiations and strategic marketing. He was formerly director of AQM Copper Inc., acquired by Teck Resources in 2016.

Dr. John A. McDonald, P.Geo. - Director

Dr. John McDonald is a geologist with more than 40 years of international experience as both a professor and mineral explorer. He served as VP of Exploration for both Diamondex and Winspear Diamonds Inc. He and his technical team were directly responsible for discovering and developing the Snap Lake diamond deposit. De Beers acquired Winspear’s majority ownership in the Snap Lake deposit for US$305 million in 2000. In 2000, McDonald received the HH “Spud” Huestis Award for excellence in prospecting and mineral exploration from the B.C. and Yukon Chamber of Mines. In January 2008, he received the Hugo Dummett Diamond Award for Excellence in Diamond Exploration and Development. He is a director of Canterra Minerals Corp., Hudson Resources Inc.and Independence Gold Corp.

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Fortune Minerals Secures Option to Purchase Brownfield Site in Alberta's Industrial Heartland for NICO Refinery

Former steel fabrication plant with buildings and facilities to materially reduce capital costs

Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQB: FTMDF) (" Fortune " or the " Company ") ( www.fortuneminerals.com ) is pleased to announce that it has entered into an option agreement with JFSL Field Services ULC (" JFSL "), a wholly-owned subsidiary of a large international engineering company, to purchase its former steel fabrication plant, located in Lamont County within Alberta's Industrial Heartland northeast of Edmonton. Pursuant to the agreement, Fortune will have six months to carry out additional due-diligence and complete the purchase of the JFSL facility for C$5.5 million. Fortune intends to acquire this brownfield site in order to construct the hydrometallurgical refinery for the planned NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper mine in the Northwest Territories (" NWT "). The proposed refinery would process concentrates from the mine and produce cobalt sulphate for the rapidly expanding lithium-ion rechargeable battery industry and their use in electric vehicles (" EV's "), portable electronic devices, and stationary storage cells to make electricity use more efficient. In addition to cobalt, the unique mineral assemblage of the NICO deposit includes a highly liquid 1.1 million ounce in-situ gold co-product, 12% of global bismuth reserves, and copper. The vertically integrated NICO development (" NICO Project ") would provide a reliable North American source of three Critical Minerals produced responsibly with Canadian environmental-social governance (" ESG ") values that are essential to support the transformation to new technologies and the growing green economy.

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Electra Battery Materials Logo

Electra Battery Materials


Overview

As governments, large corporations, and established automakers turn their attention to clean energy initiatives, it’s clear the reliance on electric vehicles and battery technology is on the rise. In fact, electric vehicle (EV) sales are expected to increase ten-fold from 3.2 million units in 2020 to an astonishing 32.2 million units in 2030, resulting in an aggressive demand for battery materials as the green economy takes off. However, with the battery material market being led by China controlling over 80 percent of the current market share the need for a domestic supply chain is critical now more than ever.

Among battery supply materials, cobalt and nickel are considered crucial to lithium-ion batteries used in EVs. The battery industry requires materials such as nickel and cobalt to be supplied in a specific chemical form for the production of precursor material converted to cathode active material used in lithium-ion batteries. As the demand for EVs booms in the coming years, companies outside of China that can supply battery materials in this specific chemical form will likely present an attractive opportunity for investors.

Electra Battery Materials (TSXV:ELBM,OTCQX:ELBMF) is an ESG-focused battery materials company advancing the only fully integrated, localized and environmentally-sustainable battery park in North America. Electra is led by a highly experienced management team with decades of experience in the mining and mineral processing industry.


Electra Battery Materials’ battery materials park, the first of its kind in North America, will supply the electric vehicle industry with cobalt and nickel sulfate production, a large-scale lithium-ion battery recycling facility and battery precursor materials production . The company plans to become a leader in the battery supply chain by leveraging vertical integration opportunities in North America.
Electra Battery Materials Battery Materials Park

"Globalization has created an electric vehicle supply chain that is too long, too costly and increasingly unreliable," said Trent Mell , President & CEO in an interview with INN. "Our automaker clients have a strong interest in greater localization of the upstream supply chain to achieve greater reliability, security of long-term supply, and a lower carbon footprint. With the continent's rich mineral endowment, the rationale for supplying battery materials through Asia into a growing U.S. EV market is not sustainable. Electra will act as a bridge between North American electric vehicles and a North American source of primary and recycled material, providing a low carbon solution for zero emission vehicles.”

The creation of a nickel sulfate production line directly supports the company’s four-phase growth plan. The company is already in talks with various nickel suppliers to secure the raw materials its future nickel sulfate facility will require, which when combined with its near-term cobalt output, could power 1.5 million electric vehicles each year.

The company’s cornerstone asset, the Cobalt Refinery, is a fully-permitted, modular and environmentally-friendly facility located in Ontario, Canada. The facility will be the world’s second-largest battery-grade cobalt sulfate refinery outside of China.

The Company’s 4-phased approach to market entry allows it to grow its product line offering in line with demand from the evolving EV market, while minimizing risk and managing capital intensity.

Electra Battery Materials Cobalt Refinery

At Phase 1, the refinery is expected to be capable of supplying the EV market with 25,000 tonnes of battery-grade cobalt sulfate per annum in 2023, with a planned increase of 30 percent shortly thereafter. The company’s refinery will account for 26 percent of cobalt sulfate production outside of China.

The next stage, Phase 2, Electra will be growing its recycling business initially targeting black mass from consumer electronics and subsequently targeting primary battery scrap material from North American EV cell manufacturers.

Based on industry forecasts, there could be nearly 250,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries available for recycling from manufacturing scrap in North America alone by 2025. (see how to footnote Benchmark and Li-cycle)

As the e-mobility and renewable energy industries ramp up in North America, Electra will use hydrometallurgy to recycle black mass back into useable Li-ion battery materials.

The Company’s third phase involves refining nickel from 2024 to 2025, while Phase 4 involves establishing a partnership for a PCAM plant in 2025.

Developing a world-class critical mineral deposit in the USA: The Iron Creek Copper-Cobalt Project

Electra is the owner of one of the only primary copper/cobalt deposits in the United States. Cobalt is a strategic critical mineral identified by the US Government as part of their broader efforts to secure domestic supply chains.

Iron Creek will support the asset necessary for the nation’s development of the US-based a domestic EV materials supply chain.

  • Indicated Resource of 2.2 million tonnes at 0.32 percent cobalt equivalent (0.26 percent cobalt and 0.61 percent copper) for 12.3 million pounds of contained cobalt and 29 million pounds of contained copper
  • Inferred Resource of 2.7 million tonnes at 0.28 percent cobalt equivalent (0.22 percent cobalt and 0.68 percent copper) for 12.7 million pounds of contained cobalt and 40 million pounds of contained copper

Electra Battery Materials is committed to ESG initiatives with industry-leading credentials. The company’s ESG commitments include recycling, producing a low carbon footprint, fostering traceability and shortening and securing a domestic supply chain. The company’s refinery is expected to produce 51 percent lower greenhouse gases than its Chinese counterparts with higher yields and lower energy requirements.

Company Highlights

  • Electra Battery Materials Corporation (TSXV:FCC,OTCQX:FTSSF) is an ESG-focused battery materials company focused on building the first battery-grade refinery in North America. The company aims to build the only fully integrated, localized and environmentally-sustainable battery park in North America.
  • Electra’s Battery Materials park will supply the electric vehicle industry with cobalt and nickel sulfate production plants, a large-scale lithium-ion battery recycling facility and battery precursor materials production
  • The company’s Refinery is a fully-permitted, modular and environmentally-friendly hydrometallurgical facility located in Ontario, Canada. The facility will be the world’s second-largest battery-grade sulfate refinery outside of China.
  • The company’s Iron Creek Project offers strong resource growth potential to become an important critical mineral deposit for the U.S’ domestic EV supply chain. Inferred Resource of 2.7 million tonnes at 0.28 percent cobalt equivalent (0.22 percent cobalt and 0.68 percent copper) for an additional 12.7 million pounds of contained cobalt and 40 million pounds of contained copper. The resource estimate used a 0.18 percent cobalt equivalent cutoff grade.Electra Battery Materials is committed to ESG initiatives with industry-leading credentials. The company’s ESG commitments include recycling, producing a low carbon footprint, fostering traceability and shortening and securing a domestic supply chain.

Key Projects

Electra’s Refinery

Electra Battery Materials Electra\u2019s Refinery

The Electra’s Refinery is a fully-permitted and environmentally-friendly hydrometallurgical facility located in Ontario, Canada. The facility will be the world’s second-largest non-Chinese battery-grade sulfate refinery and the only refinery in North America of its kind. The property is located near exceptional infrastructure with access to talented skilled labour. The Refinery will provide battery-grade cobalt and nickel, recycled battery materials and precursor material through its modular design.

The facility has a 10-year operating history. The company’s lithium-ion battery recycling process involves hydrometallurgical refining of Black Mass which is superior to pyrometallurgy. The process produces higher yields, significantly lower energy intensity and lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to pyrometallurgical facilities. Additionally, the process allows for lithium and graphite recoveries, unlike pyrometallurgy. The refinery is environmentally friendly as it is expected to produce 51 percent lower greenhouse gases than its Chinese counterparts. These low emissions are credited to the hydroelectric electricity grid in the area.

Electra Battery Materials strongly believes that this facility can supply the electric vehicle market in North America with 5,000 tonnes of cobalt contained as early as the fourth quarter of 2022. The company has already begun work on commissioning a lithium-ion battery recycling line in 2021. Electra Battery Materials is currently in the process of testing black mass feeds from recycled batteries and is awaiting the results from test work and engineering studies in the coming weeks.

Iron Creek Project

Electra Battery Materials Iron Creek Project

The Iron Creek project is a copper and cobalt project located in Lemhi County in the state of Idaho in the United States. The project is situated in the most prolific trend of cobalt mineralization in the US. The property spans 1,820 acres of mining patents and exploration claims. The Iron Creek project is located in the same trend as the historic Blackbird mine. The project features significant infrastructure that allows for multiple drills and underground activity. The property is accessible via an all-weather road that connects to a highway.

The property features historic exploration of 600 metres of underground development from 1970 to 1972. The company produced an updated and upgraded NI43-101 compliant resource estimate in 2020. Iron Creek currently has an Indicated Resource of 2.2 million tonnes at 0.32 percent cobalt equivalent (0.26 percent cobalt and 0.61 percent copper) for 12.3 million pounds of contained cobalt and 29 million pounds of contained copper, as well as an Inferred Resource of 2.7 million tonnes at 0.28 percent cobalt equivalent (0.22 percent cobalt and 0.68 percent copper) for an additional 12.7 million pounds of contained cobalt and 40 million pounds of contained copper. The resource estimate used a 0.18 percent cobalt equivalent cutoff grade

In total, Electra Battery Materials has completed the advanced exploration of 29,00 metres of diamond drilling to date. Electra Battery Materials believes the property has strong high-grade resource growth potential given the strike extent and open nature of the mineralization in all directors. The company is currently awaiting drill results on the property expected at the beginning of 2022.

Management Team

Trent Mell - President, Chief Executive Officer and Director

Trent Mell founded First Cobalt in 2017. Mell has more than 20 years of international business and operational experience. His mining career experience includes mine permitting, development and operations with Barrick Gold, Sherritt International, North American Palladium and AuRico Gold. Mell’s commercial experience includes M&A, joint ventures, offtake contracts and over $2.6 billion in equity and debt financings. He was also the CEO of Falco Resources. Falco Resources is the owner of the Horne project which has mineral reserves of over 6 million gold equivalent ounces. Mell was the president and head of mining of PearTree Securities. In this role, Mell created a mining team and led the firm to become the largest provider of flow-through capital in Canada, placing more than $300 million in capital in their first year.

Mell holds an EMBA from the Kellogg School of Management and Schulich School of Business, an LL.M from Osgoode Hall as well as a B.A., B.C.L. and LL.B. from McGill University.

Ryan Snyder - CPA, CA and Chief Financial Officer

Ryan Snyder has more than a decade of experience in finance. Previously, he spent five years in operations finance with Inmet Mining Corporation. In this role, he led a project to build the life-of-mine model for Cobre Panama which is one of the largest copper development projects in the world. He also led the worldwide annual budgeting and quarterly forecasting processes, oversaw operational financial reporting and analysis and conducted scenario analysis for strategic decision-making. He then joined Enirgi Group Corporation where he oversaw financial planning, asset modelling and corporate governance. Most recently, he was with Primero Mining Corp. Snyder initially began as the director of finance and treasurer of Primero Mining but later became the chief financial officer. At Primero Mining, he was part of the team that negotiated the friendly merger of Primero with First Majestic Silver in 2018. Before entering the mining industry, Synder obtained his Chartered Professional Accountant designation with KPMG LLP.

Mark Trevisiol - P.ENG. and Vice President of Project Development

Mark Trevisiol is a professional engineer with 30 years of experience in mineral processing, mining, capital projects and executive management. He spent over 20 years with Falconbridge Ltd. and Xstrata Nickel which are Glencore predecessor companies. At these companies, he held various roles, including general manager of business development and strategy, general manager of the Sudbury smelter business unit, manager of smelter operations and superintendent of the Kidd Creek Zinc plant. More recently, Trevisiol held several executive leadership and board positions, including CEO positions at Crowflight Minerals and Silver Bear Resources.

During his career, Trevisiol has been responsible for mining and mineral processing for teams of up to 300 people. He was also responsible for operations, safety and environment, custom feed, engineering, maintenance and technology. He has a demonstrated track record of increasing plant efficiency and margins, notably in treating third-party feeds. With Falconbridge Ltd., he championed a new recycling facility primarily designed to handle spent cobalt-based lithium batteries. He has worked across several commodities, including nickel, cobalt, zinc, copper, lithium, gold, and silver.

Trevisiol has an engineering degree from the University of Waterloo.

Michael Insulan - Vice President of Commercial

Michael Insulan has nearly 20 years of experience across oil and gas, bulk commodities and base and minor metals. He has worked for Royal Dutch Shell, CRU and Eurasian Resources Group. Over the past four years, Insulan has been primarily focused on the cobalt market where he has built a reputation as an industry expert.

As vice president of commercial, Insulan will have overall responsibility for marketing the company’s refined cobalt sulfate product to electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers and battery cell makers. He will also be responsible for marketing recycled cobalt, nickel, lithium and other battery materials produced by the company’s Canadian refinery. These marketing efforts are part of a proposed Phase 2 expansion to refine black mass recovered from end-of-life lithium-ion batteries.

Michael holds a Ph.D. in Economics focused on the extractive industries.

Regan P. Watts - Vice President of Corporate Affairs

Regan P. Watts is a seasoned and entrepreneurial executive with more than 20 years of public and private sector experience in corporate communications, strategy, innovation and regulatory and corporate affairs. His experience spans various industries, including infrastructure, transportation, industrial manufacturing, information technology and financial services.

Watts has provided services to Electra Battery Materials since 2019 and has been instrumental in helping communicate the company’s priorities and plans to the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. In his executive capacity, Watts will add U.S. corporate and regulatory affairs to his responsibilities. Electra Battery Materials has ambitious plans for its Iron Creek copper-cobalt project in Idaho which align with President Biden’s US$2 trillion green energy plan.

Before working with Electra Battery Materials, Watts was a member of IBM Canada’s senior leadership group. At IBM, Watts headed the innovation, citizenship and government affairs team.

Before IBM, he served on the executive committee of Lafarge Canada where he led corporate communications, public and regulatory affairs and corporate social responsibility. Watts had an extensive career in public service, serving in leadership roles in the Government of Canada across four federal departments. From 2006 to 2012, he served at Finance Canada, Transport Canada, Health Canada and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. In 2012, Watts was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his public service to Canada. Watts is also a published author. Watts holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University and is president of consultancy Fratton Park Inc.

Christina Lalli - Head of Investor Relations

Christina Lalli has nearly 20 years of investor relations and capital markets experience. Lalli has spent the majority of her career in the mining sector. She has held several senior-level investor relations positions throughout her career. Christina’s contribution has been instrumental in building robust IR programs, establishing new shareholder contacts and developing important relationships within Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Before joining Electra Battery Materials, she worked for Nouveau Monde Graphite, a Canadian natural graphite and battery anode materials company, currently in development. In this role, she acted as a key force in driving the company’s market awareness and share price growth. Before that, she worked for both Osisko Metals and Osisko Mining Corporation in 2003. Osisko Mining Corporation is an important success story in Canadian mining history.

Lalli holds a BA in Psychology and Human Relations as well as a graduate diploma from the Ivey School of Business from the University of Western Ontario. She is a Certified Professional in Investor Relations (CPIR) and a long-time member of the Canadian Investor Relations Institute.

Dr. George Puvvada - Refinery Technical Manager

Dr. George Puvvada is a P.Eng. and PMP with a Ph.D. Puvvada is a highly qualified metallurgist with over 25 years of industrial metallurgical experience. Over his career, Dr. Puvvada built a reputation for developing flowsheets for difficult ores. He also delivered projects for some of the world’s largest mining companies, including Vale, Xstrata and Barrick Gold.

As Electra Battery Materials’ technical manager, Dr. Puvvada will be a key member of the senior leadership team tasked with executing the company’s refinery expansion and commissioning strategy. He will also assist in qualifying the Electra Battery Metal’s cobalt sulfate product for inclusion in Western automaker electric vehicle batteries.

Before joining Electra Battery Materials, Dr. Puvvada was employed with Northern Sun Mining. Dr. Puvvada oversaw all aspects of feed evaluation, metallurgical processing, lab supervision and project development at Northern Sun Mining. He previously spent several years as a metallurgist at the Peko Mine in Australia where he tested, developed and piloted for the recovery of base and precious metals. Dr. Puvvada has also worked with some of the world’s leading metallurgical and engineering firms, including SNC Lavalin, Tetra Tech, Ortech and SGS. Dr. Puvvada holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mineral Processing from Andhra University in India and a Ph.D. in Extractive Metallurgy from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Electra signs Battery Recycling and Cobalt Supply Agreement with Marubeni

Electra signs Battery Recycling and Cobalt Supply Agreement with Marubeni

Electra Battery Materials Corporation (TSXV: ELBM) (OTCQX: ELBMF) ("Electra") is pleased to announce that it has signed a battery recycling and cobalt sulfate supply agreement with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation ("Marubeni").

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