The deposit at the project is planned to be mined by open pit methods. In picture, West Zone Discovery Holes and Main Zone Nickel Resource. (Credit: CNW Group/Canada Nickel Company Inc.)
In July 2022, CNC announced that the project’s total measured and indicated resources more than doubled to 1.43 billion tonnes at 0.24% nickel. In picture, Plan view of Main Zone & East Zone Nickel Resources. (Credit: CNW Group/Canada Nickel Company Inc.)
Nickel focused exploration company Canada Nickel Company (CNC) fully owns the property. In picture, location of sample within the South Low Grade Zone. (Credit: CNW Group/Canada Nickel Company Inc.)

The Crawford Nickel-Cobalt Sulphide project is located around 42km north of Timmins in Ontario, Canada. The feasibility study of the project is currently underway.

Canada Nickel Company (CNC), a nickel focused exploration company, fully owns the property.

According to the company, the nickel and cobalt bearing minerals at Crawford are similar to that at Dumont Nickel Deposit in Québec.

The Crawford Project’s Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) estimated the project to become one of the top five nickel sulphide operations with a maximum extraction rate of 120,000 tonnes per day.

Crawford is expected to have a 25-year mine life. Capital expenditures (CAPEX) for the project are estimated to be $1.2bn.

Ownership History

In 1963, the discovery of rich base metal deposit in Kidd Township (Kidd Creek Mine), located around 15km south of the property resulted in exploration activities in Crawford Township throughout the latter 1960s and the 1970s.

However, no significant work was conducted in the project area within Crawford and Lucas townships since the 1980s.

In 2012, Ring of Fire Resources rebranded itself as Noble Mineral Exploration and continued exploration work at nearby Kingsmill Nickel (Ni) Target.

In 2018, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology Interpretation over Crawford and Carnegie townships was commissioned to identify potential Cu-Zn and Ni-Co targets.

Spruce Ridge Resources signed an option and joint venture agreement with Noble in May 2018 to acquire 75% interest in specific target areas of the Crawford Township Property.

In October 2019, the company announced its intention to establish Canada Nickel Company, which would own a consolidated 100% interest in the Crawford property. Spruce Ridge Resources also agreed to sell its stake to Canada Nickel Company.

A definitive agreement was signed a month later.

In February 2023, Anglo American agreed to make an investment of $24m in Canada Nickel to acquire a 9.9% stake in the company. As agreed, Anglo American will also be entitled to buy up to 10% of nickel concentrate, iron and chromium recoveries in the magnetite concentrates and any corresponding carbon credits from Crawford Project.

Location and site details

The project is located within the Timmins-Cochrane Mining Camp in north-eastern Ontario. The project area can be accessed through local bush roads accessed from Highway 655.

Freight rail access is available in Timmins and Cochrane, while the Timmins Municipal airport has several daily flights to Toronto Pearson International Airport and Billy Bishop Island Airport.

Overall, the project comprises an area of 11,433.22hectares, which includes patented lands (Crown patents) and unpatented mining claims (staked claims). There are 140 Crown patents (freehold patented lands) in Crawford and Lucas townships and 173 single cell mining claims (SCMC), and two multi-cell mining claims (MCMC) in Crawford Township.

Geology and Mineralisation

The Crawford Nickel-Cobalt Sulphide Project is located in the western portion of the mineral-rich Abitibi Greenstone Belt of the Abitibi Subprovince, which is spread across the Ontario-Quebec provincial border.

The rocks beneath the property are part of the Deloro Assemblage, which hosts the Crawford Ultramafic Complex (CUC).

The CUC is an approximately 8km long by 2km wide body of dunite, peridotite and of lesser pyroxenite and gabbrothe. It was redefined by a high-sensitivity aeromagnetic and airborne gravimetric survey in 2018 and with 3D-inversion and detailed interpretation in 2019.

Sulphide mineralisation at Crawford is characterised as komatiite-hosted Ni-Cu-Coplatinum-group-elements (PGE) deposit type, while common nickel sulphides, such as pyrrhotite and pentlandite, are present along with the sulphurpoor mineral heazlewoodite (Ni3S) and nickel-iron alloys such as awaruite (Ni3-Fe).

Resources at Crawford Nickel Sulphide Project

In July 2022, Canada Nickel updated mineral resource estimate for Crawford Nickel Sulphide Project.

The project’s total measured and indicated resources were more than doubled to 1.43 billion tonnes at 0.24% nickel.

Inferred resources stood at 0.67 billion tonnes at 0.23% nickel. The updated resource is based on a combined total of 113 drillholes and 56,286m of drilling.

The total measured and indicated resources also included 93.9Mt of iron, 8.5Mt of chromium, 183kt of cobalt and 1.06 million ounces of palladium + platinum.


The deposit is planned to be mined by conventional open pit method.

Canada Nickel plans to use carbon-neutral electricity and utilise autonomous and trolley-assist trucks, drills and electric excavators to minimise carbon footprint.

The Crawford mine plan seeks to mine 2,794Mt over a period of 27 years, including two years of pre-stripping ahead of the commissioning of the process plant. Around 907Mt of the mined ore feed to the mill.

The plan features three discrete open pits- Main Zone (MZ), East Zone-West (EZ-W) and East ZoneEast (EZ-E).

MZ will include 80% of feed to the mill and 85% of the recoverable nickel. The smaller East Zone-West (EZ-W) and East ZoneEast (EZ-E) will be mined from the 17th year of operations after the depletion of MZ.

Crawford will see the use of different technologies to improve productivity of equipment and minimise costs. This will include the use of autonomous drill systems (ADS), autonomous haulage systems (AHS) and trolley-assisted truck haulage.


The ore will be delivered to primary crushers at the process plant and associated service facilities to produce nickel concentrate and tailings.

The nickel and magnetite concentrates will be thickened, filtered, and then stockpiled before it is transferred to third-party smelters using railcars or trucks.

The residue which includes slimes flotation tailings, nickel sulphide magnetic separation tailings, and magnetite recovery circuit tailings will be mixed and thickened and then dumped into the tailings storage facility (TSF).

The process plant will be developed in three phases. It will process ore at a rate of approximately 42,500 tpd at the initial stages of mine life. Eventually the rate will be increased to a maximum of 120,000 tpd following a capacity expansion.


The Crawford mine is located near a well-established mining camp with infrastructure.

The overall site will have open pit mines, tailings storage facility (TSF), waste rock facilities, polishing pond, process and non-process buildings among others.

In the process area, crushing, stockpile conveyor, coarse ore stockpile and reclaim, SAG and ball mill grinding circuit, nickel flotation circuit, filtration and storage, rail car/truck loadout, tailings thickening facility, reagents, and ancillary services.

The first two phases of the project will receive power via a 2.5km overhead powerline, while the third phase will require a new 38km long 230kV overhead powerline.

The sedimentation pond’s surface water storage and local groundwater wells will provide water for start-up. During operations, most of water requirements will be met by recycling water from the TSF. A water treatment plant will also be developed to treat water.

Contractors Involved

The NI 43-101 Technical Report, Preliminary Economic Assessment and Updated Mineral Resource Estimate in 2022 was prepared by Caracle Creek International Consulting.

Ausenco Engineering Canada and Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions Canada supported the company in preparing the report.

Provincial utility Hydro One Networks (HONI) will provide electrical power to the mine site.

In April 2021, Golder and Wood Canada Limited were contracted to initiate the environmental data collection required for the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).

Transfer Environment and Society (TES), a consulting firm, was contracted to assist Canada Nickel in designing and implementing a rigorous community consultation process.