TIMMINS -- Officials with Canada Nickel say if you've travelled Highway 655 between Timmins and Highway 11, you've probably driven over billions of dollars of nickel.

The Canadian mining company said the property it has acquired was drilled by Inco in the mid-1960s, but at the time, its findings didn't warrant an investment.

Decades later, with the need for high-grade nickel for batteries in electric vehicles driving demand, Canada Nickel said now is the time proceed with development.

"There's over two million tonnes of contained nickel in the orebody," said Mark Selby, chairman, CEO and director of Canada Nickel, during an interview with CTV News via Skype.

"At a face value, you could recover it all, you know, at today's prices it's almost $30 billion of nickel in the ground."

Officials said the deposit also contains cobalt, palladium and platinum and is located in a prime location, about a 30-minute drive north of Timmins on Highway 655, near the Lower Sturgeon Generating Station.

'You can't get a better location'

"And we're about 15 kilometres from the railhead at the Kidd Mine site," said Bill MacRae, exploration manager for Canada Nickel. "You can't get better a better location for a deposit and a better infrastructure and a very supportive community to be able develop it."

MacRae is also president of the Porcupine Prospectors and Developers Association. 

"We're always excited when new mines come into fruition because it means development and economic stimulus to the area," he said.

The Timmins business community is also eager to see the project unfold.

"We know that the mining company has long been awaiting the approval process, and this long-term investment in near Timmins will do wonders to help restart our economy," said Melanie Verrault, president of the chamber of commerce.

Canada Nickel said it plans to mine the minerals with a zero carbon footprint.

"The rocks themselves, when exposed to air, they naturally absorb CO2," Selby said. "It's a very nice thing to have these days because, obviously, that's something that everybody's focused on. (And) the benefits of being in Timmins is all the electricity in the region is all zero carbon electric."

He said an engineering study will be done by the end of the year and a full feasibility study will be complete by next year.  He said the goal is to have a large open pit mine and mill operating by the middle of the decade.