Electric Vehicle Market Gives Yukon Project New Focus
(Kitco News) - Expected exponential demand for electric vehicles (EV) is breathing new life into a well-established polymetallic project in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
Nickel Creek Platinum (TSX: NCP), formerly known as Wellgreen Platinum is well positioned to take advantage of growing need for battery-grade nickel sulfide, according to the company executives.
It has been nearly two years since new management brought a new mindset to the Yukon-based project. Previously, the company when it was Wellgreen Platinum, was focused on developing a significant platinum group metals project.
In an interview with Kitco News, during a recent site tour, Heather White, chief operating officer of Nickel Creek, said company’s transition was relatively smooth because the property’s mineralization is mostly nickel. Because of the current market dynamics, she added that it makes sense to emphasize the potential in base metals.
The project’s measured and indicated resource shows 2.1 billion pounds of nickel, representing about 55% of the property’s mineralization, potentially making it one of the largest nickel-sulfide producers in North America. In precious metals, the property has 6 million ounces of platinum and palladium; in other metals, the property contains 1.1 billion pounds of copper and 121 million pounds of cobalt.
“This is a unique world-class project,” said Graeme Jennings, vice president of corporate development. “It’s a nice mix of metals that is perfectly timed for the market. The project will be coming online when people will be craving nickel.”
According to many analysts, the most significant driver for nickel is expected to come from the electric vehicle sector as the metal is a critical component in lithium batteries.
A report, published Monday, from commodity analysts at Wood Mackenzie support’s Nickel Creek’s outlook on the base metal. The research firm said EV batteries could consume 1.26 million tonnes of nickel by 2040.
“Finding enough nickel raw materials for battery-sulfate producers is likely to be a considerable challenge post-2025,” the analysts said in its report.
According to White, what makes Nickel Creek unique is that its mineralization makes it a good fit for the EV market as the company will produce a high-quality nickel sulfide that is needed by battery manufactures.
She added that growing concerns over future supply has already prompted some companies to talk with Nickel Creek for direct source material.
“These companies want a guaranteed feed. In the current market environment it makes sense for companies to de-risk their supply chain,” she said.
Nickel is one of the top performing commodities so far this year as prices are trading just down from multi-year highs. Spot Nickel prices last traded at, $6.401 per pound, up almost 13% since the start of the year.