Aug 25, 2020

Rio Tinto takes option on ALX’s Falcon project

Rio Tinto
falcon project
firebird project
Jonathan Campion
2 min
The mining major has entered into an agreement with ALX Resources over the nickel mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, which will become the Firebird Nickel Project
The mining major has signed an agreement with ALX Resources over the nickel mine in Saskatchewan, Canada, which will become the Firebird Nickel Project...

Under the option agreement, Rio Tinto may acquire up to an 80% interest in Firebird - which will be renamed from ‘Falcon’ to avoid confusion with another Rio Tinto mine in Saskatchewan - by incurring a total of of $12mn in exploration expenditures over six years, and with additional cash payments to ALX of $125,000.

Warren Stanyer, ALX’s CEO and chairman, commented on the deal: "The Rio Tinto option agreement provides a strong endorsement of ALX's geologic vision for Firebird. We look forward to upcoming exploration plans and to unlocking the potential for new high-grade nickel/copper/cobalt discoveries at the project”.

Rio Tinto plans to meet the first part of its expenditure commitment by conducting an airborne electromagnetic survey across 8,000 ha of the northern part of the Firebird mine. This area has never previously been comprehensively surveyed. It includes the Wiley Lake nickel showing area, where ALX recently drilled up to 1.31% nickel in outcrop, and collected grab samples of up to 2.43% nickel.

ALX acquired claims at the Falcon (Firebird) Nickel Project in 2019. The size of the project is now approximately 20,500 ha. The mine is located near the town of Stony Rapids, in the Tantato Domain, which forms part of the Snowbird Tectonic Zone. In March 2020 ALX conducted magmatic nickel-copper-cobalt mineralization in two of the three holes drilled on new targets.

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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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