Canadian Mining Journal


NICKEL: FPX expects Baptiste PEA this year

Baptiste zone at Decar Credit: FPX

Baptiste zone at Decar Credit: FPX

BRITISH COLUMBIA – FPX Nickel expects the updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Baptiste deposit within its wholly owned 245-sq.-km Decar nickel district to be completed either towards the end of the third quarter or into the fourth quarter of 2020.

While the company is monitoring the potential impacts of COVID-19 on project timelines, with remote access to all of the field and laboratory data, it does not anticipate any changes to the PEA schedule.

The Baptiste deposit at Decar hosts indicated resources of 1.8 billion tonnes grading 0.12% Davis tube recoverable (DTR) nickel for a total of 2.3 million tonnes of contained nickel. Additional inferred resources stand at 391 million tonnes grading 0.12% DTR nickel for 448,000 tonnes of contained metal. The Baptiste deposit is one of four awaruite zones identified on the property; awaruite is a naturally occurring nickel-iron alloy with negligible sulphides.

A preliminary economic assessment completed for the project back in 2013 outlined a 114,000 t/d open pit mine with a 24-year life and an initial capital cost of $1.4 billion. Producing an average of 82.4 million lb. a year of nickel in concentrate at cash operating costs of $3.23 per lb., the project net present value estimate, at an 8% discount rate, came in at $579 million.

In January, FPX released pressure leaching testwork results completed on nickel concentrates from Decar, which suggest potential for production of downstream sulphate products for electric vehicle batteries.

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