- Results showed inferred mineral resources of 29.6 million tons grading 0.11 percent cobalt equivalent (0.08 percent cobalt and 0.30 percent copper) under a base case scenario pit constrained and deeper mineral resource
- Initial resource estimate reports 45 million pounds of cobalt and 175 million pounds of copper for 62.9 million pounds of cobalt equivalent on Iron Creek site
- Independent geologic and engineering consultant firm Mine Development Associates prepared resource estimate, concluding that Iron Creek cobalt and copper project is “of merit, requiring further exploration”
- Global demand for cobalt, a key material used in batteries for electric vehicles, smartphones and other battery-operated devices, increased 13.5 percent per year between 2010 and 2017 and is expected to grow at 14.5 percent per year to 2027
In what appears to be an insatiable global demand for electric and hybrid vehicles utilizing rechargeable batteries – spurred on by governmental policies encouraging or requiring the adoption of cleaner, green vehicles – concerns about cobalt supply shortages in the not-too-distant future are being raised by several industry analysts. In its Cobalt Global Industry, Markets & Outlook 2018 report, metals/minerals research firm Roskill Interactive notes that demand for the metal has surged, leading prices to rise to their highest levels in 10 years at over $90,000/t in the first half of 2018 on the London Metals Exchange (http://nnw.fm/rHzL5).
As a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, now widely used in EVs and electronic devices, the need for cobalt increased at a rate of 13.5 percent per year between 2010-2017 and is expected to grow at a faster rate of 14.5 percent per year to 2027, a FinancialBuzz.com news commentary states in a review of the industry and several key players, including First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQX: FTSSF) (ASX: FCC) (http://nnw.fm/9qFtR). Cobalt provides high energy density and thermal stability in a battery, an essential element for electrical products such as EVs, cell phones, notebook PCs and other battery-powered devices.
First Cobalt, a vertically integrated North American pure-play cobalt company, recently announced that it owns 100 percent of its Iron Creek property located in Idaho and has eliminated the outstanding royalty. The company earlier retained Mine Development Associates (“MDA”) to prepare a resource estimate for the Iron Creek cobalt and copper project, posting “very encouraging” results from its first NI 43-101 Mineral Resource Estimate in a September 26, 2018, news release (http://nnw.fm/9Ln8d).
“The initial resource estimate and the pace of progress at Iron Creek have exceeded our expectations,” First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell stated in the release. “We have delineated a sizeable primary cobalt deposit on patented property and mineralization continues to expand to the east, west and at depth. The mineralogy is simple and initial metallurgical test work is very encouraging with high metal recoveries. Cobalt is associated with pyrite rather than minerals containing arsenic, which may offer processing and offtake advantages… This initial Inferred Resource estimate is an important step forward to a potential source of ethical cobalt in America.”
Supply chain issues hinder the growth of many markets, but end users of cobalt have a unique concern if the material is sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a politically unstable nation that produces up to 67 percent of the world’s cobalt. The DRC employs questionable business practices and is known to utilize child labor, an article in SemiEngineering.com states (http://nnw.fm/WI3qv).
“Cobalt demand is increasing and there are concerns about the availability of future mine supply,” Jack Bedder, an analyst at Roskill, stated in the article. “There are real child labor issues in the DRC, and thus responsible end users want to procure ethically sourced material.”
Drilling is now underway at Iron Creek to test the mineralization strike length from 450 meters to over 900 meters, while also systematically testing depth extensions to over 300 meters to support an updated resource estimate in early 2019. Mell had previously identified (http://nnw.fm/j3pS7) the Idaho site as “one of the most prospective and advanced projects in North America.”
First Cobalt Corp., with headquarters in Canada, is a vertically integrated North American pure-play cobalt company. First Cobalt has three significant North American assets: the Iron Creek Project in Idaho; the Canadian Cobalt Camp, with more than 50 past producing mines; and the only permitted cobalt refinery in North America capable of producing battery materials.
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/FTSSF
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