More metallurgical tests begin for FPX Nickel’s Baptiste project

The Baptiste nickel deposit area on FPX Nickel’s Decar property in central BC. Image from FPX Nickel.

Having completed the preliminary economic assessment (PEA) in September 2020, FPX Nickel Corp. (TSXV:FPX) has begun a metallurgical pilot program on samples from its Baptiste nickel project in central British Columbia. This will be the largest program to date conducted on material from the deposit.

The continuing tests will improve several aspects of the flowsheet with the potential to boost recoveries and or lower processing costs, said president and CEO Martin Turenne.

The flowsheet developed for the PEA is based on conventional grinding, magnetic separation and flotation. A concentrate grading 63% nickel and 1% cobalt was produced. A magnetite-rich tailings was also produced; it may have a market as an iron ore feedstock.

One goal of the current metallurgical testing is to produce sufficient high grade concentrate for additional tests and to produce sulphate for the electric vehicle battery market.

The Baptiste deposit is 80 km west of the Mt. Milligan mine in the Decar nickel district. When the PEA was filed, the deposit had resources of 2.0 million indicated tonnes grading0.122% nickel, containing 5.4 million lb. of metal, and 593,000 inferred tonnes at 0.114% nickel, containing 1.5 million lb.

FPX puts the cost of a 120,000-tonnes per day at $1.67 billion. The project has an after tax net present value discounted 8% of $1.72 billion and an after tax internal rate of return of 18.3%. All-in sustaining costs have been estimated at $3.12 per lb. nickel. The mine could have a life of 35 years.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)