Multi-Billion Industry Backers Accelerate Development Timeline for Canada Nickel’s Crawford Project
By Matthew Gordon
Canada Nickel is advancing its wholly-owned Crawford nickel-cobalt sulfide project, located in Timmins, Ontario. The company believes the asset has the potential to become one of the world's largest nickel sulfide operations. Recent major investments from companies including battery maker Samsung, diversified miner Anglo American, and Canadian gold miner Agnico Eagle have provided strong 3rd-party validation of the project’s potential.
The deals highlight the growing demand major players see for ethically-sourced, carbon-neutral nickel production from geo-politically stable jurisdictions to supply electric vehicle battery mega factories being built in North America and Asia.
In providing further context on the recent Samsung and Agnico Eagle investments, CEO Mark Selby emphasized their importance:
“It’s a massive endorsement for us and we’re really glad to be working with both companies.” He also highlighted Samsung’s strategic value:
“An Asian battery maker...one of the world’s largest battery makers...they came to Canada, they picked us and they’re valuing the Crawford project at a six times multiple over our current share price.”
Each company brings complementary strategic value. Selby explained:
“Anglo American think they can add additional value to these types of nickel deposits...Agnico Eagle provided funding for a giant exploration campaign to unlock the broader nickel district...[and] Samsung is primarily focused on the off-take.”
Selby also elaborated on the dynamics driving demand for ethical North American nickel production:
“People poured a lot of money into developing oil reserves outside of the Middle East in the 1970s because of significant geopolitical consequences...it’s the same thing here.”
He noted reputational issues around nickel supply from Indonesia and emphasized automakers and parts suppliers “are somehow just going to depend on Chinese control supply from Indonesia...that’s a very naive theme.”
Instead, he sees demand for regional production hubs, noting:
“Just with the battery plants that we have in North America, we’re looking at nickel demand of 3-400 kilotonnes in less than a decade from now and there’s almost no visibility on that material.”
In terms of the next steps at Crawford, Selby said the cash injection will help accelerate key milestones:
“We’ll be within less than 6 months away from our final permit by the end of this year...having three endorsements from major players is going to be super helpful."
He summarized the outlook:
"We start to climb out of that valley...you’re going to see major permitting milestones mid year...and by the end of this year, we'll be within less than 6 months away from our final permit. We expect to have our full financing package for the project in place before year-end.”
Looking beyond Crawford, Selby also emphasized they see the potential for a broader nickel district play:
"The key thing here is...we did Crawford with raising $6 million and put out the first resource in less than 6 months...everything we've done for Crawford...it'll be an almost cut-and-paste exercise for subsequent work at our other targets."
He concluded: “If we’re able to prove up another four to six projects or more over the next few years, you’re looking at potential throughput for the district of 200,000-300,000 tons of nickel...that would make us the world’s largest nickel sulfide district."
The investments from Samsung, Anglo American and Agnico Eagle provide 3rd-party validation of both Canada Nickel’s specific Crawford project and the potential for unlocking Canada Nickel's other assets to open up a new global-scale nickel district. There appears to be surging demand from major players for regional clean nickel production centers to feed EV megafactories. Crawford is now well positioned in the eyes of key potential partners and customers.
The influx of capital will help accelerate permitting and development. As the most advanced new nickel sulfide project in a geo-politically stable jurisdiction, Crawford now looks to have a clear pathway to production by 2025-2026. This could make Canada Nickel one of the best-positioned investment opportunities to capitalize on rising demand for ethically sourced nickel.
Canada Nickel looks to be in the right place at the right time with its Crawford nickel project. It is the first of several large nickel deposits in the Timmins District owned by Canada Nickel. The ability to attract global industry players for their first project bodes well for the remaining larger-scale assets. Surging demand trends for ethically sourced nickel and recent high-profile corporate investments provide validation while also helping accelerate development. As the most advanced new nickel sulfide project in North America, the first project, Crawford, is positioned to capitalize on rising regional battery megafactory demand. Further exploration success across its district could ultimately allow Canada Nickel to establish one of the world's leading nickel production hubs.