Sama and Old Nick
In 1751, Axel Fredrik Cronstedt of Sweden attempted to extract copper from the mineral Kupfernickel – today called niccolite. To his surprise instead of copper, he got a silvery white metal he started calling nickel. The name nickel comes from the German language and means Old Nick – which is a name Germans use for the devil – so nickel is “Old Nicks copper” or the “Devil’s copper.”
In 1913, Harry Brearly an English scientist, was the first to produce stainless steel when he accidentally discovered the addition of chromium makes stainless steel stainless. More than 10.5% chromium needs to be added to allow the outside protective oxide film to form on the steel – this provides corrosion resistance and gives stainless steel its bright, silvery appearance – the more chromium added the greater the corrosion resistance.
Nickel is an important alloying addition in nearly two thirds of the stainless steel produced today. Its primary function is to stabilize the austenitic (face-centered cubic crystal) structure of the steel. Normal carbon steel will, on cooling, transform from an austenite structure to a mixture of ferrite and cementite. When added to stainless steel nickel stops this transformation keeping the material fully austenite on cooling. Austenitic stainless steels have high ductility, low yield stress and high tensile strength when compared to carbon steel – aluminum and copper are examples of other metals with the austenitic structure.
The minimum amount of nickel that will stabilize the austenitic structure is eight percent. That is the percentage present in the most commonly used grade of stainless steel – Type 304 is 18% chromium and 8% nickel and is known as 18/8. This composition was one of the first to be developed, it was used for chemical plants and also to clad the Chrysler Building in New York City.
Almost 40% percent of annual nickel use is in nonferrous alloys (mixed with metals other than steel) and super alloys (metal mixtures designed to withstand extremely high temperatures and/or pressures or have high electrical conductivity). Nickel is present in over 3000 different alloys that are used in more than 250,000 end-use applications.
Nickel is used as a coating on other metals to slow down corrosion, for the production of coins, as a catalyst for certain chemical reactions and as a colorant – nickel is added to glass to give it a green color.
Rechargeable nickel-hydride batteries are used for cellular phones, video cameras, and other electronic devices. Nickel-cadmium batteries are used to power cordless tools and appliances.
Because nickel is usually recycled, a distinction is often made between the use of newly produced metal and recycled scrap. ‘First use’ refers to the destination of newly produced nickel. By far the most important use of new nickel is the production of stainless steels.
It is estimated that there is about 140 million tons of nickel available in identified deposits. Nickel-bearing deposits come in 2 types:
Nickel sulphide deposits are formed by magmatic segregation. These sulfide deposits are also called magmatic sulfide deposits and are found in Australia, Canada, Russia and South Africa and are typically associated with copper and platinum group metals.
Nickel Laterite deposits are formed from weathering of ultramafic rocks and are usually operated as open pit mines. They are located principally in Western Australia, New Calodonia, Indonesia, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
Today, nickel sulfide deposits are the primary source of mined nickel – about 58% of world’s nickel production come from nickel sulfide and 42% of mined nickel comes from nickel laterite deposits.
The trend of future nickel production is changing because of the current lack of high quality nickel sulfide exploration targets – nickel laterites are most likely to be developed as the world’s future primary nickel sources.
Three countries dominate the top three spots in terms of nickel deposits:
Russia is the world’s leading country for nickel production and Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel is the world’s largest producer. Most of the countries nickel production (an amazing one-fifth of global production) is from Norilsk – the largest nickel sulfide deposit in the world.
Canada is the world’s second largest nickel producing country. Most of the countries nickel currently comes from the Thompson Nickel Belt in Manitoba, the Sudbury Basin of Ontario, and the Ungava peninsula of Quebec.
Vale SA, a Brazilian company and the world’s second largest mining company by market value, said its total nickel output will be cut by about five percent this year as it repairs a damaged furnace in Canada. The company, whose goal is to become the world’s top nickel producer in 2011, said on February 7th 2011 the No. 2 furnace at its Copper Cliff nickel plant in Sudbury, Ontario would be shut down for at least 16 weeks.
On the announcement nickel futures jumped to their highest price in almost three years – nickel for three month delivery climbed $660, or 2.3 percent, to settle at $29,150 a metric tonne.
Australia is the world’s third most important producer of nickel. The country primarily exports its nickel products to Europe, Japan and the United States.
Nickel Sulphide Deposits
Magmas (magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth – Lava is the extrusive equivalent of magma) originate in the upper mantle and contain small amounts of nickel, copper and PGE. As the magmas ascend through the crust they cool as they encounter the colder crustal rocks.
If the original sulfur (S) content of the magma is sufficient, or if S is added from crustal wall rocks, a sulphide liquid forms as droplets dispersed throughout the magma. Because the partition coefficients of nickel, copper, iron and Platinum Group Elements (PGE) favor sulphide liquid these elements transfer into the sulphide droplets in the magma. The sulphide droplets sink toward the base of the magma because of their greater density and form sulphide concentrations. On further cooling, the sulphide liquid crystallizes to form the ore deposits that contain these metals.
Currently, the majority of today’s nickel is produced from sulphide deposits, as it is easier and cheaper to mine and process than lateritic ore. However known sulphide deposits are getting depleted and new discoveries are scarce.
There are two main types of nickel sulphide deposits. In the first, Ni-Cu sulphide deposits, nickel (Ni) and copper (Cu) are the main economic commodities – copper may be either a co-product or by-product, and cobalt (Co), Platinum Group Elements (PGE) and gold (Au) are the usual by-products.
The second type of deposit is mined exclusively for PGE’s with the other associated metals being by-products.
Nickel sulphide deposits can occur as individual sulphide bodies but groups of deposits may occur in areas or belts ten’s, even hundreds of kilometers long. Such groups of deposits are known as districts. Two giant Ni-Cu districts stand out above all the rest in the world: Sudbury, Ontario, and Noril’sk-Talnakh, Russia.
The most important platinum-rich PGE district in the world is the Bushveld Complex, South Africa. The Fraser Institute mining survey ranks the attractiveness of mining investment destinations. This year’s survey shows South Africa has fallen from 27/47 places in the 2003 period to 67/79 this year. South Africa is now just above Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Fraser Institute survey rankings. The second PGE district in importance is the Noril’sk-Talnakh district, which is exceptionally Palladium (Pd) rich as a by-product of its Ni-Cu ores.
Nickel laterite deposits
Nickel laterite deposits were first discovered in 1864 by French civil engineer Jules Garnier in New Caledonia – commercial production started in 1875. New Caledonia’s laterites were the world’s largest source of nickel until Sudbury Ontario’s sulphide deposits started production in 1905 and totally dominated global production for the next 70 years.
Eighty-four million tons, or roughly 60 percent of global available nickel is in laterite deposits – a deposit in which weathering of ultramafic rocks has taken place. The initial nickel content is strongly enriched in the course of lateritization – under tropical conditions fresh rock weathers very quickly. Some metals may be leached away by the weathering process but others, such as aluminum, iron and nickel can remain.
Typically nickel laterite deposits are very large tonnage, low-grade deposits located close to the surface. They tend to be tabular and flat covering many square kilometers. They are most often in the range of 20 million tonnes and upwards, with some examples approaching a billion tonnes of material.
Laterite deposits usually contain both an upper dark red limonite (higher in iron and lower in nickel, magnesium and silica) and lower bright green saprolite zone (higher nickel, magnesium and silica but lower iron content). Due to the different quantities of iron, magnesium and silica in each zone they must be processed differently to cost-effectively retrieve the nickel.
Sama Resources TSX.V – SME
Sama Resources is focused on exploring the Samapleau nickel/copper project in Ivory Coast, West Africa and the Lola nickel and cobalt project in the Republic of Guinea, Africa. The company is well financed and managed by experienced industry professionals with a strong track record of discovery.
Location: Côte d’Ivoire, Africa. The Samapleu license encompasses approximately 446 square kilometers, has all the necessary infrastructure and services and is located adjacent to the large world class nickel-cobalt laterite deposits of Sipilou, Foungouesso, Moyango and Viala. A NI 43-101 mineral resource is to be completed on the Samapleu Project by mid-2011.
The Samapleu Project is a joint venture between Sama’s 100% owned subsidiary, SAMA Nickel Corporation (66⅔%) and Société pour le Développement Minier de Côte d’Ivoire (“SODEMI”) (33⅓%). Sama Nickel Corporation will pay 100% of costs to feasibility, thereafter Sama will bear 60% of costs, SODEMI 30% and the Ivorian Government has a 10% carried interest.
The Samapleu Main deposit appears to be composed of two distinct and more or less parallel tubular shape lenses of massive sulphide plunging towards the south at approximately 35°. These two massive lenses (sulphides are considered “massive” when they are 40% plus of the total rock volume) are located within a 10% to 40% halo of disseminated sulphide within pyroxenite units, forming a 400m long mass open at surface toward the southeast, northwest and at depth. A detailed IP survey is due to start shortly to test the potential for expansion at both ends.
Highlights of the 6,900m 2010 drill program:
41m: 1.07% Ni, 1.01% Cu
33m: 1.29% Ni, 1.16% Cu
38m: 0.53% Ni, 0.88% Cu
31m: 1.02% Ni, 0.85% Cu
11m: 3.04% Ni, 2.92% Cu
8m: 2.58% Ni, 4.34% Cu
Metallurgical testing was conducted by Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS) of Vancouver, B.C., under the supervision of Blue Coast Metallurgy Ltd. of Nanaimo, B.C. Metallurgical test work at SGS was performed on two mineralized blends: a high-grade blend grading of 1.71 per cent nickel and 1.71 per cent copper (Comp 1) and a production blend grading of 0.53 per cent nickel and 0.52 per cent copper (Comp 2).
A recent locked cycle test on the Comp 2 blend returned an 18.5-per-cent nickel plus copper grade of concentrate, with nickel and copper recoveries of 74 per cent and 89 per cent, respectively. Cobalt recovery was 71 per cent.
The test results confirm earlier predictions gleaned from quantitative mineralogical analyses that Samapleu material is quite favorable for treatment by milling and flotation processes, indicating a potentially simplified flow sheet yielding good sulphide minerals of a relatively coarse grind.
“These results demonstrate that Sama can produce a good metallurgical grade of concentrated, high nickel and copper recoveries. This is an important milestone in the development of Samapleu. These results, together with additional drilling data, encourages Sama to plan initiating before the end of 2011 a scoping study on the viability of an open pit mining operation at the Samapleu project.” Dr. Marc-Antoine Audet, Sana Res. President and CEO
There is a second phase, 9000m drill program, currently underway. The Phase 2 drilling program is aimed at establishing NI43-101 compliant Mineral Resources at the Main Samapleu deposit and at Extension 1.
Samapleu Extension 1 is a New Discovery made in 2010, its 1.5km north of Samapleu and returned intersections of;
- 9m grading 1.93% Ni+Cu and 1.6g/t PGE’s and Scandium
- 0.90m @ 2.68% Ni
- 1.65m @ 1.82% Ni, 2.14 g/t Pd
- 0.65m @ 1.75% Ni, 2.74 g/t Pd
The Samapleu exploration license also hosts a significant amount of nickel-cobalt + scandium rich laterite material, known as the Sipilou South laterite deposit, located 5 km northwest of the Samapleu main deposit.
Approximately 50% of the Sipilou South Ni-Co laterite deposit extends into the exploration license. Laterite material grading between 1.2% to 2.04% Nickel and 0.06% to 0.10% Cobalt has been reported from previous works. A first stage laterite drilling program by the Company on an 800m x 400m grid will be part of the current drilling Phase II program.
Newly discovered high potential zones:
Kourouba is a new mineralized sector located 2.5km north of the Main Samapleu deposit. The discovery is based on 23.75m of mineralized pyroxenite with disseminated sulphide ranging from 10 to 30% including stringers of massive sulphides. Full lateral extension of the sector is not known and is open at depth.
Sama’s surface exploration has identified a new mafic to ultramafic complex (potential host for mineralization) located 3.5 kilometers south of the Samapleu Main deposit. This new “Gangbapleu” sector extends for several km to the southwest. A mineralized pyroxenite rock sample collected at surface has returned 0.15% Copper and 0.07% Nickel. Although low, these unexpected values at surface are indicative of the potential for a whole new complex.
Lola Project: Nickel and Cobalt
Location: Republic of Guinea, Africa. The geological setting of the area is characterized by the presence of ultramafic and mafic intrusions forming an almost continuous succession within a corridor of structural deformation orientated more or less NE-SO. The deformation zone extends for almost 170 km with 60 km in Guinea and remaining 110km in Côte d’Ivoire.
Sama controls this trend with their two properties, Samapleu and Lola, adjacent to each other.
Ultramafic and mafic intrusions located within the Lola property can be the host of either, nickel and copper sulphide mineralization (ie: Samapleu poly-metallic deposit) or nickel and cobalt rich surface laterite deposits (ie: Sipilou and Foungouesso laterite deposits).
The Lola Project is 100% owned by Sama.
Shares Outstanding: 54m
Fully Diluted: 65.7m
Insider Ownership – management, BofD, Advisors: 38%
Nickel is a critical ingredient in the production of stain less steel and industrial alloys – the demand for nickel rises directly in step with the growth of emerging economies.
Unlike gold there is no “emotional” component to the value of nickel. It isn’t hoarded in safes, given as wedding presents, or dangled around women’s necks. Instead you find it in buildings, cars, trains and bridges.
Pure nickel exploration plays aren’t common. Is Sama Resources (charts) and its potential 170k long nickel/copper/cobalt mining district on your radar screen?
If not maybe it should be.
If you’re interested in learning more about the junior resource market please come and visit us at www.aheadoftheherd.com.
Legal Notice / Disclaimer
This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Richard Mills has based this document on information obtained from sources he believes to be reliable but which has not been independently verified.
Richard Mills makes no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Richard Mills only and are subject to change without notice. Richard Mills assumes no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this Report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission.
Furthermore, I, Richard Mills, assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information provided within this Report.
Richard Mills does not own shares of Sama Resources TSX.V – SME
Sama Resources TSX.V – SME is an advertiser on Richard’s website www.aheadoftheherd.com.