Experienced executive David Patterson wanted to be ahead of the nickel curve when he formed a new Québec-focused company in September 2020, foreseeing growing demand for metal in the clean energy sector.
Patterson moved quickly, approaching Glenn Mullan, Chief Executive Officer of Val-d’Or Mining, ultimately leading to then-private Québec Nickel buying what is now the company’s 15,000-plus hectare Ducros nickel, copper and PGE project from Val-d’Or Mining for 3,589,341 special warrants.
In July 2021, Québec Nickel (CSE:QNI) 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 embarking on an extensive exploration program pursuing high-grade mineralization. Currently underway are airborne and ground surveys as well as an aggressive 20,000 metre, multi-phase drill program encompassing the 2022 exploration season.
Canadian Securities Exchange Magazine caught up with Patterson, Québec Nickel’s Chief Executive Officer, recently to learn more about the company’s plans.
Québec Nickel is exploring for high-grade nickel in the Abitibi, yet the area is better known for its many gold and VMS deposits, with only low-grade nickel occurrences. Talk to us more about your vision.
We believe that our Ducros property has all the necessary features to produce a high-grade nickel deposit. On our property we see geologic structures in an area with high volumes of mafic and ultramafic rocks. This unique combination of geological setting and geology give the Ducros the potential to host an economic nickel ore body.
In a broader sense, what’s the difference between higher and lower grades in nickel?
All things being equal, a high-grade deposit will have a smaller ecological footprint and can better withstand volatile metal prices. A low-grade deposit may be economic at the current metal price, but could not sustain 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 achieve?
The COVID variant Omicron slowed our exploration activity at the start of 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 has a detailed description of the rock types we have encountered. We will need to wait for assays for the current holes, and we anticipate having them in the next month or so.
Can you tell me more about the Ducros project and why you are excited by 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 has a significant volume of mafic and ultramafic rocks. This is a similar geological setting for most of the magmatic sulphide nickel discoveries in the last 100 years.
In addition, limited drill programs conducted in 1987 and 2008 show that there are nickel occurrences 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 43-101 Technical Report from 2021 discloses channel and grab samples from the Fortin showing outcrops that contain over 2% copper and 0.5% nickel with elevated platinum and palladium values.
Can you say more about your executive team, their background, and what you bring to the company as CEO?
On our board of directors, we have people with tremendous nickel exploration experience as well as expertise in finance and accounting.
Our technical team has considerable experience in nickel exploration, with both brownfield and greenfield discoveries that have gone into production.
As for me, I have helped finance large nickel exploration projects in Canada over the last 25 years. I believe the team that we have brought to Québec Nickel can find an economic ore body and has the experience to be able to develop the project through to production.
How would you sum up the company’s 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 we have the right people to guide the successful development of the company.
This story was featured in the Canadian Securities Exchange magazine.
Learn more about Québec Nickel at https://quebecnickel.com/.