Canada Nickel Identifies New Method for Accelerated CO2 Capture

By Canada Nickel | July 22, 2022

Canada Nickel Company Inc. ("Canada Nickel" or the "Company") (TSXV:CNC) (OTCQX:CNIKF) today announced the results of a laboratory test program for a new method of accelerated carbon capture – In Process Tailings Carbonation (“IPT Carbonation”) that the Company believes has transformative potential. 

The lab scale test program demonstrates that this accelerated carbon capture process could allow Crawford tailings to absorb enough CO2 to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions within 36 hours, and generate up to 21 tonnes of CO2 credits per tonne of nickel produced within just six days, rather than the multiple months involved in existing passive tailings approaches.  At Canada Nickel’s Crawford Project, this translates into an average of approximately 710,000 tonnes of CO2 credits per year and 18 million total tonnes of CO2 credits over the Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) life-of-mine.  

Mark Selby, Chair and CEO of Canada Nickel commented, “These lab scale test results demonstrate a potentially transformative process to turn a nickel mine into a net generator of carbon credits rather than a generator of carbon emissions.  Our active and accelerated process has the potential to operate at least 8-12 times faster than current passive approaches, delivering carbon capture at a multiple of what industry leaders are currently able to achieve.  Our process also allows easier quantification and verification of the amount of carbon captured.”  

Canada Nickel’s Crawford Project is hosted in ultramafic rock, which naturally absorbs and sequesters CO2. The potential to actively capture and sequester carbon was a key consideration in Canada Nickel’s acquisition of the 42 km2 of target ultramafic rocks in the Timmins area which could anchor a zero-carbon industrial cluster near Timmins. The challenge has been to develop a process that speeds up the naturally occurring carbon absorption process. Canada Nickel has developed a simple active process that utilizes tailings as generated in the milling process and injects a concentrated source of CO2 for a brief period of time.  This novel process for accelerated mineral carbonation is called In Process Tailings Carbonation or IPT Carbonation, which fixes CO2 geologically while the tailings are still in the processing circuit, rather than after they have been finally deposited. 

IPT Carbonation
The IPT Carbonation process utilizes tailings directly from the mineral processing circuit and conditions them with CO2 for a brief period of time.  After this conditioning, the tailings achieved the Net Zero carbon capture target in less than 36 hours and achieved gross carbon capture rates of at least 26 tonnes of CO2 / tonne of nickel (5 times the amount necessary to achieve Net Zero metal production) in just 6 days.  During this time, the rate of capture was 8 to 12 times faster than a lab scale passive approach. (see Figures 1a, 1b, 2, 3).  Both samples tested with IPT Carbonation have achieved or surpassed the complete theoretical carbonation of the ultramafic mineral brucite, which is significant as the capacity of brucite to sequester carbon, at Crawford alone, is estimated to be more than 13 million tonnes of CO2 over the estimated life of the project. The experimental method and results for IPT Carbonation were initially completed at XPS, Expert Process Solutions, a Glencore Company, and the mechanism was then reproduced at a second independent lab, Kingston Process Metallurgy, adding confidence to the process. No further information is being provided on the method at this time and work is underway to test a wide range of variables to optimize the process. 

Based on mineralogy data captured in the Crawford PEA, the average brucite concentration of samples characterized in the resource was 2.0%. These initial lab scale results suggest that carbon capture beyond the theoretical maximum in brucite is possible . brucite content into the block model Canada Nickel is working towards incorporating the as an estimate for the total carbon capture potential of the project in the feasibility study .

Validation and Measurement of CO2 Credits
IPT Carbonation, which is an active process, has benefits over passive mineral carbon capture as the method for quantifying and verifying CO2 capture is expected to be much simpler. Using a standard carbon balance in the mineral processing facility, the CO2 captured from IPT Carbonation can be quantified before tailings are discharged into the permanent tailings storage facility such that carbon offsets can be quantified in real time as part of a standard metallurgical accounting system. Canada Nickel expects industry standards to be developed for quantifying CO2 capture through passive methods as well. 

Qualified Person and Data Verification
Arthur G. Stokreef, P.Eng (ON), Manager of Process Engineering & Geometallurgy, Canada Nickel Company, and a “qualified person” as such term is defined by National Instrument 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical information in this news release on behalf of Canada Nickel Company Inc.