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Alaska Energy boosts contained nickel at Nikolai project to 8 billion lb.

Alaska Energy Metals (TSXV: AEMC) said on Monday that its 100% owned Eureka deposit, part of its flagship Nikolai polymetallic project in Alaska, now contains one of the biggest known nickel resources in the US following an update to the NI 43-101 mineral resource estimate (MRE).

The new MRE includes 813 million tonnes of indicated material grading 0.22% nickel, plus 0.07% copper, 0.02% cobalt, 0.048 g/t platinum, 0.094 g/t palladium and 0.012 g/t gold, for a nickel-equivalent (NiEq) grade of 0.29%. The contained nickel metal is nearly 3.9 billion lb.

There are also 896 million tonnes of inferred material grading 0.27% NiEq (0.21% nickel, 0.05% copper, 0.02% cobalt, 0.039 g/t platinum, 0.068 g/t palladium and 0.009 g/t gold), containing 4.2 billion lb. of nickel. The inferred resource grew 180% in tonnage compared to the deposit’s initial resource published in November 2023.

The 2024 resource estimate incorporated 35 historical drill holes, the data for which Alaska Energy purchased in August 2023, and eight diamond drill holes (totaling 4,138 metres) drilled by the company in 2023. The resource area covers three zones (EZ1, EZ2, EZ3) of sulphide mineralization spanning 4.5 kilometres of the Eureka deposit.

The highlight of recent drilling was the identification of a higher-grade core zone within EZ2 that displayed continuity along much of the strike of the deposit. This core zone alone contains an indicated resource of 211 million tonnes at 0.34% NiEq and an inferred resource of 154 million tonnes at 0.33% NiEq.

“In less than a year, we have taken an exploration concept to a substantial deposit of nickel and other critical metals,” Alaska Energy Metals CEO Gregory Beischer commented in a news release. “The update increases the nickel metal content of the deposit to over 8 billion lb. (more than 3.7 million tonnes) with only a 0.01% grade decrease and a notably lower strip ratio.”

The Eureka deposit of the Nikolai project now represents a globally significant accumulation of nickel and has now become one of the larger known nickel deposits in the country, Beischer noted. The project is located 40 km northwest of the village of Paxson, on the southern flank of the Alaska Range.

“Nikolai could potentially become an important source of nickel for the US, catering to the needs of various manufacturing sectors including stainless steel, electric vehicles, defense components, long-term, grid-scale renewable energy storage batteries and a myriad of other uses,” he said.

Regarding the high-grade core zone at EZ2, Beischer said the company will continue to evaluate this area as it could positively affect project economics.

The Nikolai project is a possible host to disseminated nickel-copper-cobalt-PGE mineralization analogous to the Crawford deposit in Canada and the Norilsk mine in Russia, the company said.

Shares in Alaska Energy Metals jumped over 5% to C$0.29 apiece by 12:20 p.m. in Toronto, for a market capitalization of C$20 million. The stock traded between C$0.03 and C$0.50 over the past 52 weeks.