He said that nickel is the key to the range of electric vehicles. We won't be able to bring enough new nickel onto the stream fast enough for the EV revolution. Automakers are beginning to realize that their EV ambitions will be limited by limited supplies of critical materials such as nickel and lithium. An additional 250,000 to 450,000 tons of nickel will need to be brought onstream based on plans for giga factories in North America, according to Giga spokesman Lyle Trytten. That is challenging, said Trytten. If you develop all of the known nickel deposits in North America, that still falls short of what auto manufacturers are going to need. Car makers are going to have to invest in mines if they want to secure supplies, said Jarvis. Some people think that is a stretch, but Ford was vertically integrated in the early years. They owned iron mines and rubber plantations, amongst other inputs. If car makers don't secure long term supplies of battery raw materials, it's hard to see how they will be in the EV business ten years from now. China has become increasingly dominant in the battery and EV business, in part because they have invested heavily in the production of nickel, lithium and cobalt. The war in Ukraine is causing global manufacturers to reassess the geopolitical risk in their supply chains, according to Jarvis. He said that you are a car manufacturer that relies on China for batteries or a battery manufacturer that relies on China for raw materials. According to Trytten, the increasing demand for nickel in green technologies comes alongside the demand for ethically or sustainably produced metals in the emerging battery supply chain.
He said Canada has a reputation for high environmental standards in mining. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People was officially recognized in British Columbia. At our project, we have been supporting research at the UBC into carbon dioxide sequestration in our silicate tailings material. The amount of sequestration is significant, and it is measurable. We think we have a real shot at being a carbon neutral mine without buying offsets. The Turnagain project is large enough to have an impact on battery supplies. An engineering study at the Preliminary Economic Assessment level modelled an average production of 33,000 tons of nickel per year and 1,800 t.p. Cobalt has been mined for 37 years over a 37 year life.
This is a very big project, but the processing circuit is simple, said Trytten. The technical risk is lower because of the simpleness of the equation. Nearly all of the recoverable nickel and cobalt are contained in a mineral called pentlandite. We are able to recover that concentrate to a high grade, clean concentrate that is suitable for processing to cathode materials. Jarvis said the next step is finding a suitable partner to help develop the Turnagain project. Jarvis said that a small company controls a very large project is a classic problem in the mining business. It is a very big job to develop something the size of Turnagain. We are running an internal process to find the right partner, led by our president. There is a lot of interest, and that interest seems to be growing as downstream strategics think about the implications of tight supplies.