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The Hunt for Junior Nickel Miners - Timing is Everything

By: Newsfile

Vancouver, Kelowna and Delta, British Columbia--(Newsfile Corp. - February 13, 2024) -, a global investor news source covering mining and metals stocks releases a mining snapshot focused on junior nickel miners featuring

Alaska Energy Metals Corp. (TSXV: AEMC) (OTCQB: AKEMF), a company focused on delineating and developing a large polymetallic exploration target containing nickel, copper, cobalt, chrome, iron, platinum, palladium and gold and located in central Alaska.

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Looking to see if this is the right time to be looking at nickel plays, analyst commentary from Forbes reported last week, "Nickel was the worst performing base metal in 2023, falling 45% year-on-year," Morgan Stanley said.

"However, with the price stabilizing and supply cuts emerging, investors are asking if we are close to a trough."

"This looks increasingly likely in our view, with the spot price now at the 75th percentile of Wood Mackenzie's cost curve. Historically, the nickel price has troughed at the 70th percentile, followed by a subsequent rebound."

Betting big on the future of nickel, Alaska Energy Metals Corp. (TSXV: AEMC) (OTCQB: AKEMF) just issued breaking news with an updated independent mineral resource estimate prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101") ("2024 MRE" or "2024 Resource") for its 100% owned Eureka Deposit, Nikolai Nickel Project in Alaska, USA. The effective date is February 12, 2023.

The newly-published 2024 MRE contains an addition of 813 million tonnes of indicated resource, 896 million tonnes of inferred resource (an increase of 180%), and a strip ratio decrease, when compared with the maiden resource published in 2023 (see press release dated November 20, 2023). The study was completed by Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., and includes 35 historical drill holes, the data for which the Company purchased in August 2023, and eight diamond drill holes (totaling 4,138 meters) drilled by the Company on the project in 2023.

Highlights of the news include:

  • The Eureka West and Eureka East deposits reported in the maiden 2023 Mineral Resource Estimate ("MRE") are now connected as one deposit measuring 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) in length.

Relative to the maiden MRE:

  • A significant portion of the deposit was upgraded from Inferred to Indicated MRE. Previously there was 0 tonnes of Indicated resource. There has been an addition of 813 million tonnes of Indicated resource to the MRE.
  • The grade of the Indicated resource is 0.29% nickel equivalent ("NiEq").
  • The Inferred resource has increased from 319.6 million tonnes to 896 million tonnes, a 180% increase. The grade of the Inferred resource is 0.27% NiEq.
  • There has been an addition of 3.877 billion pounds (1.758 million tonnes) of contained nickel to the Indicated resource.
  • There has been an increase in Inferred resource contained nickel metal from 1.552 billion pounds (703,975 tonnes) to 4.225 billion pounds (1.916 million tonnes), a 172% increase.
  • As a consequence of joining the two deposits together, the strip ratio has been reduced from 3.7:1 to 1.5:1. Three parallel zones of mineralization are now identified (EZ1, EZ2, and EZ3).
  • A higher-grade core zone has been identified within EZ2 and it shows continuity along much of the strike of the deposit. The higher-grade core contains an Indicated resource of 211 million tonnes at a grade of 0.34% NiEq and an Inferred resource of 154 million tonnes at a grade of 0.33% NiEq.

Alaska Energy Metals President & CEO Gregory Beischer commented in the press release, "In less than a year, we have taken an exploration concept to a substantial deposit of nickel and other critical metals. The mineral resource estimate update has produced a 180% increase in the Inferred tonnage, and added substantial, new Indicated tonnage to the deposit. The update increases the nickel metal content of the deposit to over 8 billion pounds (more than 3.7 million metric tonnes) with only a 0.01% grade decrease and a notably lower strip ratio. With this updated mineral resource estimate, the Eureka deposit of the Nikolai Nickel project represents a globally significant accumulation of nickel and has now become one of the larger known nickel deposits in the United States. Nikolai could potentially become an important source of nickel for the USA, catering to the needs of various manufacturing sectors including stainless steel, electric vehicles, defense components, long-term, grid-scale renewable energy storage batteries and a myriad of other uses. This significant achievement speaks volumes to the hard work our team has put into the project over the past year. I am particularly encouraged by the delineation of a higher-grade core zone. The presence of this core zone could dramatically affect project economics in a positive way."

Additional information: alaskaenergymetals

Nickel Creek Platinum Corp. is focused on advancing its 100%-owned Nickel Shäw Project towards becoming Canada's next world-class nickel sulphide mine. Located in the Yukon, their asset is host to over 2.5 billion pounds of nickel, 1.3 billion pounds of copper, 7.0 million ounces of platinum group metals ("PGM's") and 137 million pounds of cobalt in the measured and indicated categories - positioning them well for the rapidly growing demand for these urbanization commodities.

Looking to the future in their corporate presentation they note, "It is estimated that 1.5 to 2.5Mt/y of new battery grade nickel could be required globally by 2040 - this represents the majority of the current nickel consumption now."

Junior miner Stillwater Critical Minerals made hearts turn last year when they announced a 9.99% strategic investment by Glencore.

President and CEO, Michael Rowley stated, "We are very pleased to welcome Glencore, one of the top five largest mining companies in the world, as a major investor. This represents a major step forward for Stillwater as we advance our flagship Stillwater West project with the vision of becoming a large-scale source of battery and precious minerals that are now listed as critical in the US, and elsewhere. There are very few projects globally, and especially located within the United States, that offer the combination of grade and scale in a producing district that we see at Stillwater West. We are now booking drills and crews for our 2023 drill campaign with a focus on expansion of the high-grade nickel-copper sulphides identified in our past campaigns. We look forward to announcing further details in the coming weeks, along with the start of drilling."

Giga Metals Corp. core asset is the Turnagain Project, located in northern British Columbia, which contains one of the few significant undeveloped sulphide nickel and cobalt resources in the world. Turnagain is held in Hard Creek Nickel, a subsidiary owned 85% by Giga Metals Corporation and 15% by Mitsubishi Corporation.

The company was featured in a Business in Vancouver article on nickel plays in December, reporting, "It would have an initial capital cost of $2.6 billion and sustaining capital costs over 30 years of $2.2 billion. It would require a new 78-kilometre access road and a 160-kilometre transmission line to tie into the Northwest Transmission Line."

"We're looking at average production of a little over 35,000 tonnes per year of nickel and a little over 2,000 tonnes per year of cobalt," said Giga Metals CEO, Mark Jarvis.

With the recent attention the news from Canada Nickel made with its major investment in Timmins, planning $1-billion nickel processing plant in Ontario for EVs, investors may be on the hunt for other nickel plays.

For additional insight as to why nickel is one of the metals to keep an eye on in 2024, Investor Ideas recently interviewed Gregory Beischer, President and CEO of Alaska Energy Metals Corp. (TSXV: AEMC) (OTCQB: AKEMF).

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