Coniagas Battery Metals


Coniagas Battery Metals is a Canadian company focused on developing a world-class critical minerals project. The name Coniagas is an acronym for various symbols on the periodic table such as – cobalt (Co), nickel (Ni), silver (Ag), and arsenic (As). The company is formed from the spin-off of Nord Precious Metals’ (TSXV:NTH) Graal property in Quebec.

The company is focused on advancing the Graal nickel-copper-cobalt project towards production. Nearly 16,000 meters of diamond drilling (in addition to the 6,885 meters of historic drilling) has been completed at the project. The early-stage drill results have been encouraging, intersecting up to 1.12 percent nickel equivalent (NiEq) over 28.9 meters at depths of only 50 to 100 meters. The company plans to undertake an aggressive drilling program to expand the deposit area and deliver a maiden NI 43-101 resource report.

Geologist Claude Duplessis holding a drill core of massive sulphides containing nickel, copper and cobalt.

Coniagas is also planning to build a processing facility in Quebec utilizing its proprietary process known as Re-2Ox. It is a closed-loop hydrometallurgical process that extracts metals without any discharge or smelting, thereby exceeding environmental compliance standards. The processing facility will help Coniagas convert the mined minerals into battery-grade metals.

The Graal project represents a potential new nickel mine in Quebec with several advantages. First, the nickel at Graal is contained in sulfides that are easier and cheaper to process into battery grade nickel than nickel in laterite deposits. Second, mining at Graal will be an open pit, which is very economical compared to other nickel sulfide deposits found deep underground. Third, the project will also generate substantial copper and cobalt as by-products that will improve the project’s economic viability and deliver a low-carbon, environmentally friendly supply of critical metals for the energy transition.

The project’s location in Quebec also presents several advantages. The province is a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction and ranked eighth most attractive jurisdiction worldwide for mining investment in the Fraser Institute’s 2022 survey. Furthermore, access to excellent infrastructure in terms of hydroelectricity, roads and ports is a huge positive.

The Graal project fits perfectly into the Canadian government’s Critical Minerals Strategy that aims to create domestic supply sources of critical minerals in the country. Currently, the supply of these critical minerals is dominated by countries such as China, Russia, Indonesia, Peru, Chile and Congo, which either have rising tensions with the West or are characterized by political instability. Graal is in a much safer jurisdiction and is ideally positioned to become a reliable supplier of clean energy metals.

The demand for critical minerals required for energy storage and electric vehicle applications is expected to grow by around 30 times between 2020 and 2040, according to a report by the International Energy Agency. The report indicates copper demand to be 55 percent higher than the 2022 supply. Likewise, the 2030 demand for nickel is expected to be 67 percent higher than the 2022 supply, and for cobalt 147 percent higher than the 2022 supply levels. Coniagas is well positioned to benefit from this supply-demand imbalance and offers investors an excellent opportunity to participate in the clean energy transition.

A secondary project, which may eventually be brought into the Coniagas portfolio, is the Lowney-Lac Edouard project in Quebec, a prospective nickel-copper property near Rio Tinto. The project is currently owned by Nord Precious Metals, which was the parent company of Coniagas.

Company Highlights

Coniagas Battery Metals is a Canadian company focused on developing critical minerals such as nickel, copper and cobalt.Coniagas Battery Metals was demerged from its parent, Nord Precious Metals Mining (formerly Canada Silver Cobalt Works), which announced the separation of its business in two – Nord Precious Metals (focused on silver-cobalt) and Coniagas Battery Metals (focused on copper-nickel-cobalt).Coniagas’ flagship project is the Graal nickel-copper-cobalt property in Quebec, Canada, with excellent infrastructure in terms of low-carbon hydroelectricity, road access and proximity to major battery manufacturing facilities in eastern North America.Coniagas intends to use a proprietary Re-2Ox processing technology, a closed-loop hydrometallurgical process that extracts metals without any discharge or smelting, thereby exceeding environmental compliance standards.$6 million has been spent so far on the project with historic drillings that produced extremely encouraging results, with geologists excited that it has the potential to be a large mine. The company will focus on exploration drilling in 2024 to expand the mineralized deposit zone and deliver a maiden resource report.Critical minerals are in high demand, driven by their application in electric vehicles. Coniagas intends to develop into a supplier to the electric vehicle (EV) market.The Graal project fits perfectly into the Canadian government’s Critical Minerals Strategy that plans to create domestic supply sources of critical minerals in the country.

Key Projects

Graal Project

The red line in the MHY-Gravi zones indicates the location of the 6 km strike length.

The Graal project is the company’s flagship nickel-copper-cobalt asset in the Quebec region. Quebec is a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction and offers a world-class environment for mining investments.

The project is near the Chute des Passes electricity plant and has good access by roads. It is close to the planned Arianne phosphate mine, and is only 200 kilometers from the ocean port of Saguenay on the St. Lawrence.

Initial exploration on the property has confirmed high-grade nickel-copper-platinum-group element (PGE) deposits. The company has discovered a 6-kilometer strike length mineralized with near-surface high-grade copper, nickel and cobalt, along with several intersections to the west in the Discovery Zone.

Based on the drill and geophysics results, the project has the potential for several high-grade near-surface deposits and significant deposits at depth. Previous drilling between 1996 and 2004, conducted by SOQUEM and Virginia Mines totaling ~6,000 meters, indicated a potential target of near-surface tonnage of 30 to 60 million tons with a grade range of 0.60 to 0.80 percent nickel, 0.30 to 0.50 percent copper, and 0.10 to 0.15 percent cobalt in the MHY zone. Furthermore, Nord Precious Metals drilled more than 16,000 meters between 2021 and 2022 identifying several drill targets.

The drill results from the 2021-22 program discovered some noteworthy intervals exhibiting high grades of nickel and copper. The program succeeded in discovering wider intervals and continuity of nickel-copper sulfides within the MHY Zone. The key highlights include 1.12 percent Ni Eq over 28.9 meters and 0.94 percent NiEq over 15.9 meters.

Moving forward, Coniagas will begin drilling 2,000 meters in shallow regions to extend mineralization within the MHY Zone. Additionally, it plans to undertake a metallurgical study and engage in consultations with First Nations with an estimated cost of $500,000. Building on this effort, Coniagas plans to deliver a maiden resource estimate.

Lowney- Lac Edouard Project

This is a secondary project that may eventually be brought into the Coniagas portfolio. Situated to the south of the historically productive nickel-copper Lac Edouard Mine, the Lowney-Lac Edouard property is adjacent to an area where Rio Tinto, during a 2023 drilling initiative in the Savane region of a Midland Exploration property, uncovered high-grade nickel along with copper. The project is currently owned by Nord Precious Metals, the former parent company of Coniagas.

Management Team

Frank Basa – CEO

Frank Basa holds a BA in engineering from McGill University and is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario. He has over 35 years of experience in various aspects of gold mining and development. He also serves as the CEO of TSXV-listed companies Granada Gold Mine and Nord Precious Metals.

Aurelian Basa – Director

Aurelian Basa holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from Concordia University, Montreal. He has over 10 years of experience in the natural resources sector. He is associated with a platform that connects commodity traders to sources of critical metals. He also manages a digital content agency focused on public mining companies.

Ronald Goguen – Independent Director

Ronald Goguen has considerable senior leadership experience and has been associated with Colibri Resource Corporation, Major Drilling and Beaver Brook Antimony Mine.

William D. Macdonald – Independent Director

William Macdonald has held several senior leadership roles and has been associated with Landdrill International, Colibri Resource Corporation, Canadian Gold Resources and LEM Manufacturing.

Dianne Tookenay – Independent Director

Dianne Tookenay holds a Certificate in Mining Law from the Hall Law School, a Master of Public Administration from Manitoba University, and a Bachelor of Administration from Lakehead University. She is a band member of Brunswick House First Nation in Ontario and is associated with Nord Precious Metals and Granada Gold Mine.

Remantra Sheopaul – CFO

Remantra Sheopaul holds a B.Com. in accounting from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly, Ryerson University). He has rich experience in various aspects of finance. He works with Marrelli Support Services and is also a CFO of Granada Gold Mine, Canada Carbon, Angel Wing Metals and Metalite Resources.

Vincent Maltais – Corporate Secretary

Vincent Maltais holds a bachelor’s degree in law and philosophy and political science from Montreal University. He is a lawyer at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin where he practices business law and advises companies on M&A and public corporate financing.

This article was written in collaboration with Couloir Capital.

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