Turnagain Nickel

Project Overview

The Turnagain Project, located in north-central British Columbia on the traditional territory of the Tahltan and Kaska Dena, and is among the largest undeveloped sulphide nickel deposits in the world. Giga Metals has formed a joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation to advance the Turnagain nickel/cobalt project and the company is fully funded to complete the Prefeasibility Study in H1 2023.


Desirable product

Nickel sulphide concentrate

Multiple potential product destinations

Smelters or direct pressure oxidation refineries

Average production

33,000 t/y nickel

Peak production

45,000 t/y nickel

Long-life mine

37 years

Excellent product quality

Cobalt adds battery metal byproduct value

18% Ni

1% Co

Simple flowsheet

Crush – grind –  froth flotation

Low carbon footprint

2.24 t CO2/t Ni (at site gate)

Life of mine operating cost

US$2.81/lb (at site gate, after cobalt credits)

Initial site construction capital cost


Plus initial infrastructure and owners costs


Phase 2 expansion to double initial capacity


IRR (after-tax)

4.9% at US$7.50/lb Ni base case

Read our Preliminary Economic Assessment to find out more. 


Metallurgical Testing

Extensive metallurgical test work has shown that froth flotation can reliably create a high-grade clean concentrate, a very desirable product that can be upgraded to high purity Class One nickel for use in lithium-ion batteries. The cobalt produced is another critical element in battery production, adding to the long-term viability of the resource.

To date, locked-cycle flotation testing has been conducted at two laboratories on eight composites, including several locked-cycle tests at Blue Coast Research in 2018-2020.  Assays of five locked-cycle concentrates averaged 19.7% nickel, with 1.2% cobalt and 0.5% copper as byproducts and low impurities. The achievement of successful locked-cycle testing on a variety of samples from different parts of the deposit represents a major milestone for the project as these tests provide an important indication of the technical feasibility of the process. 

The locked-cycle flotation testing has included composite samples from three horizontal holes drilled through the heart of the key Horsetrail zone, representing the expected production for the first several years of operation, and composites from around the deposit representing different mineralization areas. All of the flotation testwork has culminated in the recovery model currently included in the PEA, with an 18% nickel concentrate and recovery of 53% over the first 20 years of the project.

Read our Preliminary Economic Assessment for more detail. 


Updated Mineral Resource, October 2022

Measured & Indicated resources of 7 Billion pounds of nickel and 433 Million pounds of cobalt and Inferred resources of 5.5 Billion pounds of nickel and 325 Million pounds of Cobalt.

Turnagain Mineral Resource Statement(1,2,3,4,5)
Classification Tonnes
Ni Grade
Contained Ni
(million lbs)
Co Grade
Contained Co
(million lbs)
Measured 423.4 0.214 1,998.4 0.013 125.1


0.209 5,039.7 0.012 308.0
Measured & Indicated 1,519.0 0.210 7,038.1 0.013 433.1
Inferred (4) 1,222.3 0.206 5,555.1 0.012 325.3

(1) All mineral resources have been estimated in accordance with Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and Petroleum (“CIM”) definitions, as required under National Instrument 43-101 (“NI 43-101”). (2) Mineral resources are reported in relation to a conceptual pit shell in order to demonstrate reasonable expectation of eventual economic extraction, as required under NI 43-101; mineralization lying outside of these pit shells is not reported as a mineral resource. Mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. (3) Mineral resources are reported at a cut-off grade of 0.1% Ni. Cut-off grades are based on a price of US $9.00 per pound nickel and a number of operating cost and recovery assumptions, plus a contingency. (4) Inferred mineral resources are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. However, it is reasonably expected that the majority of Inferred mineral resources could be upgraded to Indicated. (5) Due to rounding, numbers presented may not add up precisely to the totals provided and percentages my not precisely reflect absolute figures.

Garth Kirkham, P.Geo. and Greg Ross, P.Geo., Qualified Persons as defined by NI 43-101, have reviewed and approved the contents of this resource estimate.

For a more detailed geological description of the project, read below. To read the 43-101 compliant Preliminary Economic Assessment, click here.



Base map from the BC Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure

The Turnagain property lies immediately north of the Turnagain River near its confluence with Hard Creek, 65 kilometres east of the community of Dease Lake. Dease Lake is located on Highway 37, some 400 kilometres north of the Port of Stewart. An 80 kilometre access trail extending easterly from Dease Lake extends into the Turnagain property and is used to haul equipment and supplies. A 900 metre long dirt airstrip, expanded in 2008 and situated within the claims area on the north side of Turnagain River, accommodates small aircraft. This airstrip is immediately adjacent to the current camp facility.

Dease Lake offers some supplies and services. The communities of Terrace and Smithers in B.C. and Whitehorse in Yukon are all several hundred kilometres distant and offer the best range of supplies and services which can be flown in by fixed-wing charters or trucked to Dease Lake via Highway 37.


Turnagain Project Claims Map

Turnagain claims as of June 2022 with the major project elements from the 2020 PEA overlaid

Property Geology

Click to Enlarge

The Turnagain Nickel property covers the known extent of a zoned, Alaskan-type ultramafic intrusive complex in fault contact with Paleozoic to Early Mesozoic graphitic sedimentary rocks along its northern and eastern margins. The southern contact is not exposed, but several drill holes have penetrated the contact and intersected deformed, graphitic phyllites in fault contact with the ultramafic complex.

The Turnagain intrusion comprises a central core of dunite with bounding units of wehrlite, olivine clinopyroxenite, clinopyroxenite, hornblende clinopyroxenite, and hornblendite. The complex is elongate and broadly conformable to the northwesterly-trending regional structural grain.

The ultramafic rocks are generally fresh to mildly serpentinized; however, more intense serpentinization and talc-carbonate alteration are common along faults and restricted zones within the complex. The central part of the ultramafic body is intruded by granodiorite to diorite, and hornblende–plagioclase porphyry dikes and sills.

The sulphide mineralisation, which is unusual for an Alaskan-type intrusion, is thought to be associated with meta-sediment wall-rock inclusions which provided the sulphur source. The sulphides are mainly pentlandite and pyrrhotite with minor amounts of chalcopyrite and pyrite, and trace bornite. Anomalous levels of platinum and palladium are also present; however, they are not considered economic at this time.



The Turnagain drill hole database contains 362 drill holes totaling 90,635 m of drilling since 1967. The most recent drill campaign was 2018, in which 40 drill holes totaling 10,835 m were completed, primarily to further characterize the resource and to collect metallurgical sample.

Two hundred and forty holes were used to calculate the 2019 resource. Some of the excluded holes are historic and lack usable analytical results, but approximately 80 of them have defined additional areas of nickel-copper-cobalt and PGE mineralization in other target areas of the ultramafic complex. Nickel-copper-cobalt mineralization similar to that found in the Horsetrail-Northwest Resource Zones has been intersected in two zones on the opposite side of the Turnagain River, namely the Hatzl and Cliff Zones, as well as near the northern margin of the ultramafic, at higher elevation in the Highland Zone. Furthermore, mapped dunite and wehrlite north of the Horsetrail-Northwest Resource Zones leaves the known resource open both across the river and to the north.


Cautionary Note

Investors are cautioned that the exploration targets at Turnagain outside of the resource as defined in the 2020 PEA update are early-stage exploration prospects, conceptual in nature. There has been insufficient exploration to define a mineral resource and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in the targets being delineated as a mineral resource.

Qualified Persons

The above technical information and all the other technical information on this website pertaining to geology and drill hole data has been reviewed and approved by Greg Ross, P. Geo., Giga Metals’ Turnagain Project Manager, and a Qualified Person under NI 43-101. Technical information pertaining to project execution has been reviewed and approved by Lyle Trytten, P.Eng., a Qualified Person under NI43-101.

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