Midland Enters Into Strategic Alliance With BHP for Funding Nickel Exploration

Canadian junior Midland Exploration (TSX-V: MD) said on Monday it had struck a new funding deal with a subsidiary of BHP (ASX, LON, NYSE: BHP) for nickel exploration activities in northern Quebec. The company’s partnership with Rio Algom Ltd to explore nickel in Nunavik comes as demand for the metal surges from use in automotive batteries to power electric cars. The main objective of this Alliance is to identify, test and develop high-quality exploration targets towards the discovery of new significant nickel deposits within a large area of interest (“AOI”). BHP and Midland are combining their efforts by forming a technical steering committee (“TSC”) and pooling their large historical databases including geological, geophysical and geochemical data.BHP’s unit Rio Algom Limited will fund 100% of Midland’s exploration for the battery metal within the Nunavik territory up to C$1.4 million ($1.06 million), on an annual basis, for a minimum of two years. BHP and Midland are currently preparing logistics of the first phase of work which already includes several high-quality targets to be visited during this first field program that is planned to be conducted during the month of September 2020.

The BHP-Midland deal could potentially be an answer for the world’s most-valuable carmaker’s needs.

Analysts argue that Musk may have to rely for now on supply coming from the world’s largest producer of the metal: Indonesia. Companies operating there, however, are being criticized for plans to pump waste into the open sea, meaning Musk and other EV makers may need to compromise on sourcing standards while trying to compel the industry to clean up its act.

“Nickel projects being built in Southeast Asia will rely on coal, fuel oil or diesel to run their operations and will leave a very large carbon footprint,” said Sam Riggall, chief executive officer of Clean TeQ Holdings Ltd., which is developing an Australian mine to supply nickel for vehicle batteries. “This sort of makes a bit of a mockery of driving a green, sustainable car,” he told Bloomberg News.

The company is in the midst of setting up a facility near Timmins, Ontario, that CEO Mark Selby said can extract the metal virtually carbon-free.

Canada Nickel plans to create NetZero Metals, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to use existing technologies in the production of zero-carbon nickel, cobalt, and iron products.