Experienced executive David Patterson wanted to be ahead of the nickel curve when he formed a new Quebec company in September 2020, anticipating growing demand for the metal in the clean energy sector.
Patterson acted quickly, approaching Glenn Mullan, CEO of Val-d’Or Mining, which ultimately led to the then-private Quebec Nickel buying what is now the Ducros nickel, copper and PGE project. (platinum group element) over 15,000 hectares of the business in Val-d’Or Mining for 3,589,341 special warrants.
In July 2021, Quebec Nickel (Quebec Nickel Corp (CSE:QNI, OTCQB:QNICF)) listed its shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange and, in November of the same year, raised approximately $7.5 million.
At Ducros, the company is undertaking an extensive exploration program in search of high-grade mineralization. Aerial and ground surveys are currently underway, as well as an intensive 20,000 meter multi-phase drilling program spanning the 2022 exploration season.
Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine recently caught up with Patterson, CEO of Quebec Nickel, to learn more about the company’s plans.
Quebec Nickel is exploring for high-grade nickel in the Abitibi, but the area is best known for its numerous gold and VMS deposits, with only low-grade nickel showings. Tell us more about your vision.
We believe that our Ducros property has all the characteristics necessary to produce a high-grade nickel deposit. On our property, we see geological structures in a high volume zone of mafic and ultramafic rocks. This unique combination of geological setting and geology gives Ducros the potential to host an economical nickel ore body.
In a broader sense, what is the difference between higher and lower nickel grades?
All other things being equal, a high-grade deposit will have a smaller environmental footprint and will be more resilient to metal price volatility. A low-grade deposit may be economical at the current price of the metal, but could not support an operation if prices drop significantly.
How is your current drilling and exploration program going? What have you discovered so far and what do you hope to accomplish?
The COVID Omicron variant slowed down our exploration activity in early 2022. However, in early February we were able to begin both our airborne VTEM survey as well as Phase I drilling on the Ducros. Our most recent press release contains a detailed description of the rock types we encountered. We will have to wait for the analyzes for the current holes, and we expect to have them in the next month.
Can you tell me more about the Ducros project and why you are excited about it?
We believe we have a large project area that has seen very limited exploration activity. Previous work by other independent operators on small portions of the property has provided our technical team with evidence that the area contains a significant volume of mafic and ultramafic rocks. This is a similar geological setting for most magmatic nickel sulphide discoveries over the past 100 years.
Additionally, limited drilling programs conducted in 1987 and 2008 show occurrences of nickel in these rock types. Our 2020-2021 exploration program of geological mapping, geochemical sampling and geophysical surveys has given us confidence that we are in the right geological setting. Our 2021 Technical Report 43-101 discloses channel and grab samples from Le Fortin showing outcrops containing greater than 2% copper and 0.5% nickel with elevated platinum and palladium values.
Can you tell more about your management team, their background and what you bring to the company as CEO?
On our board of directors, we have people with extensive experience in nickel exploration as well as expertise in finance and accounting.
Our technical team has considerable experience in nickel exploration, with discoveries of contaminated and new sites that have gone into production.
For my part, I have participated in the financing of major nickel exploration projects in Canada over the past 25 years. I believe that the team we brought to Quebec Nickel can find an economical ore body and has the experience to be able to develop the project to production.
How would you summarize the business opportunity to a potential investor?
I believe that we are in the early stages of a metal super cycle, that we have chosen the right metal given this super cycle and that we have the right people to guide the successful development of the company.