SPC Nickel, a junior mining company, has signed a cooperation agreement with mining giant Vale to combine the ownership of two adjacent nickel and copper deposits – SPC’s undeveloped West Graham and Vale’s Crean Hill 3 – into an advanced exploration project. The properties are situated 20 kilometres west of the city of Sudbury, between the Totten and Creighton mines at the southeast corner of the Sudbury Basin. Two former mines, Lockerby and Crean Hill, are nearby.
This deal is being seen as a “transformational growth opportunity” for SPC Nickel, which went public two years ago with the objective of becoming a major nickel mining player in the Sudbury camp. The junior miner will gain full ownership of Crean Hill 3’s mineral and surface rights if it releases a feasibility study by 30 June 2026, with an option for SPC Nickel to extend the deadline by an additional two years.
“We tried to structure a deal that was win-win for both,” said SPC’s CEO Grant Mourre, a geologist who has worked for both Vale and Glencore. “Vale will realize some benefits down the road through a 1% net smelter return and 37% net profits royalty on any future profits generated by a potential mine on a quarterly basis. Vale also has the first right of refusal on ore feed into its Clarabelle Mill.”
The West Graham deposit has nickel grades that were promising enough to support a mine. With Crean Hill 3 in the fold, Mourre is confident the combined resource base could easily double. “We have a pretty good idea of what’s there,” said Mourre. “Vale provided us with a peek into the property’s database, which included assay results from the last time Crean Hill was drilled by INCO between 1958 and 1960.”