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A Canadian-based Nickel Company in the Heart of a World-class District

Jocelyn Aspa Jocelyn Aspa, The Market Herald
1 Comment| December 1, 2021

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Click to enlargeOn a global scale, Canada ranks fifth in terms of nickel production, having produced 181,000 tonnes as of 2019 and representing 6.8 percent of the world’s total supply.

In 2021, total nickel production is estimated to reach 2,427.4 thousand tonnes, which is a 6.8 percent increase from 2020 after a 4.2 decrease in 2020 resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with Canada handily contributing to that growth.

Within Canada, Ontario contributes to roughly 41 percent of nickel production, followed by Quebec at 30 percent, Newfoundland and Labrador at 22.2 percent and Manitoba at roughly 7 percent as of 2019.

In line with this, as nickel production continues its upward trajectory, so too has the price of nickel futures, having posted record gains in 2021. In November, nickel futures rose to trade over $21,000 a tonne in the thick of tight supply and demand from the growing battery industry.

Meet Metal Energy (TSXV:MERG), a junior exploration company that is looking to be a major contributor of nickel supply thanks to its presence in Manitoba and Ontario.

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Metal Energy is primarily focused on nickel, copper, and platinum group elements in these two provinces and holds two key assets: the Manibridge Project in Manitoba and the Strange Project in Ontario.

James Sykes, CEO of Metal Energy, told Stockhouse Editorial in an interview that the company’s focus in nickel comes partly because of its use in battery metals and, in particular, its growing importance in electric vehicles — particularly high-grade nickel.

“Nickel demand is going up — it’s going to continue going up,” he said.

For example, global demand for nickel was estimated to be roughly 60,000 metric tons in 2018, but by 2025 that number is expected to increase tenfold by 2025 to over 665,000 tons worldwide as the automotive industry continues shifting towards electrification.

Although batteries are one of the smallest use cases for nickel, the increased use of electronics has led to the rising demand for nickel as the shift towards replacing fossil fuels continues to accelerate.

To that end, Metal Energy anticipates contributing in a significant way to this rising demand through its Manibridge and Strange projects.

The Potential of the Manibridge Project

Located in Manitoba’s Thompson Nickel Belt (“TNB”) — which is one of the world’s richest nickel districts — the Manibridge Mine was mined between 1971 and 1977 by Falconbridge.

At the time, roughly 1.3 million tons at 2.55 percent nickel and 0.27 percent copper was produced from depths down to 381 metres below surface. The TNB is known for numerous high-tenor, high-grade nickel mines along a geological corridor, and Manibridge is no different with exciting exploration potential below and on strike of previously mined areas of the Manibridge Mine.

(Click to enlarge image)

In 2019, drilling completed by the previous operators, CanAlaska (TSXV:CVV), indicated the Manibridge Project was indeed host to high-tenor, high-grade nickel mineralization along strike from the previously mined section. All four drill holes intersected high-grade nickel mineralization. Highlights include 8.01 Ni% over 1.55 m within an overall envelope of 2.39 Ni% over 6.55 m at 128.05 m drill hole depth in drill hole 19MB02, and 4.30 Ni% over 2.11 m at 133.83 m drill hole depth in drill hole 19MB03.

Sykes said historic drilling has indicated a strong potential for repeatability of high-grade mineralization along the strike of the previously producing Mine. More specifically, the Manibridge Project has the potential for numerous multi-million-ton deposits with high-grade Ni mineralization intertwined with lower-grade mineralized shells.

Sykes added that the company likes the exploration potential in Manitoba and Metal Energy is developing plenty of exploration milestones for the Manibridge Project moving into 2022 and beyond.

In the first quarter of 2022, the Company anticipates carrying out a minimum 2,500 metre diamond drilling program for at least 4 to 8 holes.

Over the course of the second and third quarters, the company expects to complete another minimum 5,000 metres of diamond drilling in addition to a project-wide airborne geophysical EM survey. In the last quarter of 2022, Metal Energy estimates doing another 5,000 metres of drilling, which means investors have plenty to keep their eyes over the coming year at the Manibridge project.

The Potential of the Strange Project

As it currently stands, the Manibridge Project remains the core focus of the company, but the Strange Project is something Metal Energy is still very excited about.

Located roughly 60 kilometres west of Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Strange Project was initially conceived by former Inco geologists and now presents itself as an opportunity for discovering a potential nickel district enriched with multiple deposits, similar to parts of the TNB.

A regional-scale magnetic anomaly was identified roughly 600 to 700 metres below surface which coincides with the base of a mid-continental rift. The size of the anomaly is suggestive of the Strange Project having the potential of district-scale nickel deposits.

As such, Metal Energy has staked 11,000 hectares of claims where it plans to drill test the conceived geological model in Q1 2022. The drill program has permits in-place and is drill ready. The company anticipates the upcoming drill program to successfully identify the right rock suite that is typical of mid-continental rift-style nickel mineralization.

The Management Team

James Sykes, CEO

James Sykes has over 15 years of mineral exploration and discovery experience from roles in high-grade uranium and rare earth elements companies. For over a decade, Sykes has been involved with the discovery of over 500 M pounds of uranium in the Athabasca Basin area, northern Saskatchewan, having helped generate billions of dollars in shareholder appreciation.

In addition to his role as CEO of Metal Energy, Sykes is CEO of Baselode Energy Corp, which is a company that made a brand-new uranium discovery with its first drill program.

Stephen Stewart, Chairman and Director

Stephen Stewart is CEO and director of Orefinders Resources Inc. and QC Copper & Gold, both of which are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange. In addition to these roles, Stewart is also a director of Mistango River Resources and managing partner of Minvest Partners, a private group that is focused on natural resource discovery and development.

Stewart is also the founder and chairman of the Young Mining Professionals Scholarship Fund, which is the largest mining-focused charitable organization and fund that supports mining engineering and geology education in Canada.

Stewart has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and a Master of Science from the University of Florida.

Jeffrey Potwarka, CFO

Jeffrey Potwarka is a chartered professional accountant and certified management accountant with over 20 years of financial experience with small cap public Canadian companies.

Between 2013 and 2015, Potwarka was the director of Winston Resources Inc., and between 2005 and 2009 Potwarka was the CFO of Ausnoram Holdings Ltd. Potwarka was also previously a principal with a private merchant banking company focused on financing and consulting to public companies.

Potwarka is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and holds an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics degree.

The Investment Opportunity

Metal Energy is a newly listed company on the TSX Venture Exchange, which means it’s a brand-new opportunity for investors to get in on the ground running. Sykes explained to Stockhouse Editorial that the company has a “very tight” share structure and capital, which he said is one of Metal Energy’s advantages going forward. Metal Energy is also fully funded, with C$7 million in the bank that will be used towards its exploration and discovery in 2022.

Thanks to the company’s strong management team, the company is in a solid position to carry out its operations at the Manibridge and Strange Projects — both with huge potential to contribute to the growing demand for nickel in electric vehicles. Not only that, but the company’s projects also — and particularly the Manibridge Project — sit in regions that host some of the world’s richest nickel districts.

With that in mind, as the company moves forward with its exploration and drilling plans for 2022, Metal Energy will be one such company investors should be watching for as a difference maker in the nickel EV battery market.

For more information, please visit

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.

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