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Nickel has had an interesting year so far, with prices performing in a choppy fashion, but bouncing back to trade above US$18,000 per tonne by the end of the first half of 2021.
Despite the market volatility, some nickel companies have done exceptionally well, with their share prices seeing major increases over the course of the year so far.
Below, the Investing News Network profiles the top five nickel stocks with year-to-date gains on the TSX and TSXV. All year-to-date and share price information was obtained on July 6, 2021, from TradingView, and all companies listed had market caps above C$10 million at that time.
1. Nickel 28 Capital (TSXV:NKL)
Current share price: C$1.03; year-to-date gain: 116.84 percent
Nickel 28 Capital is a nickel-cobalt producer through its 8.56 percent joint venture interest in the producing, long-life and world-class Ramu nickel-cobalt operation located in Papua New Guinea. In addition, Nickel 28 manages a portfolio of 13 nickel and cobalt royalties on development and exploration projects in Canada, Australia and Papua New Guinea.
After a name change in early 2021 from Conic Metals to Nickel 28, the company completed an independent analysis on greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity for Ramu, confirming it is one of the lower GHG emitters in the nickel industry. In January, the company also listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
In February, Nickel 28 published Q4 2020 results for Ramu, which produced 8,373 tonnes of contained nickel in mixed hydroxide product (MHP) compared to 7,902 tonnes in the same period in the prior year, representing an improvement of 6 percent. Improvement was also seen during Q1, as Ramu produced 8,805 tonnes of contained nickel in MHP in the quarter compared to 8,635 tonnes in the same period in the prior year for an improvement of 2 percent.
Early in Q2, the company released its 2020 financial results, showing a strong year-end cash balance of US$6.4 million. Its Q1 2021 financial results show a quarter-end cash balance of US$5.5 million.
2. Canada Nickel Company (TSXV:CNC)
Current share price: C$3.75; year-to-date gain: 93.30 percent
Canada Nickel Company is advancing its wholly owned Crawford nickel-cobalt sulfide discovery with large-scale potential located in the Timmins mining camp adjacent to major infrastructure.
It’s been a busy year so far for Canada Nickel, which kicked off 2021 by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Glencore Canada to examine the potential use of the Kidd concentrator and metallurgical site in Timmins, Ontario, for the treatment and processing of material mined from Canada Nickel’s Crawford project. The company also released drilling results throughout the quarter.
On April 7, Canada Nickel inked another MOU, this time with the Taykwa Tagamou Nation, regarding the financing of the company’s expected mine fleet for its project. The next day, Canada Nickel initiated its environmental and social impact assessment for Crawford.
During Q2, the company also entered into a binding letter of intent with Noble Mineral to acquire the properties previously optioned by the company, plus additional claims held by Noble. In May, Canada Nickel announced preliminary results from the start of its drill program at the MacDiarmid nickel project.
The same month, Canada Nickel published a preliminary economic assessment for Crawford, showing an after-tax net present value of $1.2 billion at an 8 percent discount and an after-tax internal rate of return of 16 percent. Additionally, according to a study done by Skarn Associates in June, Crawford is expected to have a carbon footprint that is lower than 99.7 percent of existing global nickel production.
3. North American Nickel (TSX:NAN)
Current share price: C$0.27; year-to-date gain: 74.19 percent
North American Nickel is a mineral exploration company with 100 percent owned properties in Maniitsoq, Greenland, and Ontario, Canada. In 2019, the company became a founding shareholder in Premium Nickel Resources, a private Canadian company, to provide direct exposure to nickel-copper-cobalt opportunities in the Southern African region.
During Q1, North American Nickel announced that Premium Nickel Resources has been selected as the preferred bidder for Botswana nickel-copper-cobalt assets that were in liquidation and formerly operated by BCL. Premium Nickel Resources submitted an indicative offer to the BCL liquidator in June 2020 to acquire the former-producing Selebi-Phikwe, Tati Phoenix and Selkirk mines, as well as regional exploration joint ventures on nickel-copper-cobalt projects located in Botswana.
In March, the company announced that Premium Nickel Resources completed an exclusivity memorandum of understanding with the liquidator, which will govern a six month exclusivity period to complete additional due diligence and related purchase agreements on the Botswana nickel-copper-cobalt assets formerly operated by BCL. In late April, the company closed an oversubscribed non-brokered private placement financing, raising $1.99 million.
4. Noble Mineral Exploration (TSX:NOB)
Current share price: C$0.12; year-to-date gain: 47.06 percent
Noble Mineral Exploration has interests in Canada Nickel Company, Spruce Ridge Resources (TSXV:SHL) and MacDonald Mines Exploration (TSXV:BMK,OTC Pink:MCDMF), and in the Holdsworth gold exploration property in the area of Wawa, Ontario. In addition, the company holds approximately 72,000 hectares of mineral rights in the Timmins-Cochrane area of Northern Ontario.
In January, the company entered into a letter of intent with International Explorers and Prospectors to acquire an additional 39 mining claims in MacDiarmid and Loveland Townships; the claims are contiguous to its existing claims that have been optioned to Canada Nickel Company.
In February, Noble and Canada Nickel entered into a binding letter of intent to consolidate ownership of a recently identified high-priority nickel target in MacDiarmid Township. Later in the quarter, the company received conditional approval from the TSXV and closed the transaction.
The second quarter of the year saw the company enter into agreements and acquire: the Laverlochere property near Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec; the Cere Villebon property near Val d’Or, Quebec; and the Buckingham graphite property in the Outaouais region of Western Québec. It has also entered into letters of intent with a number of parties to option or acquire 307 mining claims in Mann, Hanna, Duff and Reaume townships.
5. Sherritt International (TSX:S)
Current price: C$0.52; year-to-date gain: 26.83 percent
Sherritt International is focused on mining and refining nickel and cobalt from lateritic ores with projects, operations and investments in Canada and Cuba. Nickel and cobalt are refined in Alberta, Canada, from mixed sulfide intermediate prepared at a mine and processing plant in Moa, Cuba.
The 50/50 Moa joint venture has the capacity to produce up to 35,000 tonnes of nickel and 3,800 tonnes of cobalt on a 100 percent basis per year. The company is also the largest independent energy producer in Cuba, with extensive oil and power operations across the island.
In 2020, finished nickel production at Moa on a 100 percent basis was 31,506 tonnes, largely in line with guidance. Production in 2021 is expected to be 32,000 to 34,000 tonnes on a 100 percent basis. Sherritt ended 2020 with cash and cash equivalents of $167.4 million, with $75 million held by Energas in Cuba; that was up from $166.1 million the previous year, with $79.8 million held by Energas.
During the second quarter of 2021, the company released production results for Q1. Sherritt’s share of finished nickel production at the Moa joint venture was 4,188 tonnes, up 9 percent from last year, while Sherritt’s share of finished cobalt production was 477 tonnes, up 19 percent. In June, the company also announced it received a combined total of US$28 million in distributions as a result of the latest dividend declared by the Moa joint venture.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Canada Nickel Company, MacDonald Mines Exploration and Noble Mineral Exploration are clients of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.
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