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FPX looks north to the Yukon for nickel

Metal Tech News - June 12, 2024

Returns to a Yukon property with the same advantageous nickel mineral as is found at its Baptiste project in B.C.

FPX Nickel Corp.'s search for a unique mineral that offers a cleaner source of the nickel that is in high demand due to its use in lithium-ion batteries has led the company back to Canada's Yukon.

FPX is best known for its work at Baptiste, an advance-staged exploration project in central British Columbia that shows the potential of being a significant future supply of low-carbon nickel and cobalt, both of which are used in lithium-ion batteries powering electric vehicles and storing renewable energy.

Rob Lavinsky, – CC-3.0

A 13-gram nugget of awaruite, a nickel-iron mineral that offers a potentially cleaner source of the nickel needed for the energy transition.

Baptiste has the distinction and advantage of hosting a specialized nickel mineral known as awaruite, which is a nickel-iron alloy formed when sulfur is not present during mineralization.

High-quality nickel concentrates produced from mining awaruite do not require smelting or high-pressure acid leaching. This means that less energy is needed to upgrade awaruite concentrates into nickel products needed for battery and steelmaking, which equates to less carbon dioxide emission than if the battery metal was produced from sulfide or laterite ores that are the source of nearly all the world's nickel.

The potential environmental benefits associated with the awaruite found at Baptiste have drawn the attention of international mining, steelmaking, and battery manufacturing firms. This includes the Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC) – a Japanese government corporation focused on securing mineral and energy resources – which has forged a partnership with FPX to carry out a global search for awaruite.

Now, FPX has identified a potential new source of awaruite at Mich, a property in the Yukon that the company first explored a decade ago.

"On the basis of our historical work at Mich, augmented by our advanced understanding of awaruite mineralization and mineral processing advantages, we are excited to undertake a new exploration campaign at the expanded Mich claim package," said FPX Nickel Senior Vice President of Projects and Operations Andrew Osterloh.

Exploring Yukon awaruite

Lying about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southeast of the Yukon capital of Whitehorse and just 11 miles (18 kilometers) northeast of the Alaska Highway, Mich is an early-stage exploration project where FPX has already shown the existence of awaruite.

FPX Nickel Corp.

The Mich claims are underlain by ultramafic rocks of the Cache Creek Terrane, which happens to be the same belt of rocks that hosts awaruite mineralization at Baptiste.

Mapping and surface sampling carried out at Mich from 2011 to 2013 outlined a 1,300-meter-long zone of disseminated awaruite mineralization with surface samples returning grades as high as 0.143% nickel.

Two holes drilled in 2014 cut long intercepts of awaruite mineralization, including 454 meters averaging 0.087% nickel.

Given the growing interest in awaruite as an advantageous source of nickel, FPX has decided to further explore Mich's potential.

"The initial drill program at Mich in 2014 identified long intercepts of near-surface awaruite mineralization similar to those at our flagship Baptiste nickel project," said Osterloh. "We look forward to further defining the geological potential at Mich in preparation for a future drill program."

The first step of this renewed exploration was to expand the roughly seven-square-mile (19 square kilometers) land package FPX has been holding at Mitch for more than a decade to 33.6 square miles (87 square kilometers).

Toward the goal of defining targets for future drilling, FPX is carrying out a surface sampling and mapping program across the expanded Mich property. This includes grid-based rock sampling covering areas of previously identified awaruite and prospective expansion areas to the southeast.

"We look forward to further defining the geological potential at Mich in preparation for a future drill program," Osterloh added.

FPX 2024 exploration of Mich is being partially funded by a C$38,000 (US$27,600) grant from the Yukon Mineral Exploration Program, which supports prospecting and early staged mineral exploration in the territory.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

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With more than 16 years of covering mining, Shane is renowned for his insights and and in-depth analysis of mining, mineral exploration and technology metals.


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