- Cobalt demand is linked to exponential growth in production of electric vehicles
- Cobalt is forecast to experience increased global demand over the next few decades
- Historic records from three First Cobalt mines show reserves of one million pounds of cobalt
Following the resounding success of its maiden drill program in Cobalt South, First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQB: FTSSF) announced on February 21, 2018, that it had commenced drilling in Cobalt North. The new program is centered on the historic Drummond, Kerr and Conisil mines within the Cobalt Camp mining region of northern Ontario, according to a company press release (http://nnw.fm/kE3Tx). In the update, president and CEO of First Cobalt Trent Mell explained that, during the company’s first drill campaign, three distinct cobalt mineralized zones were identified in Cobalt South, and the company will follow up on the discovery. The second leg of the winter drill campaign, in Cobalt North, is based on a rich set of historical data with the company’s own field work to build a 3D geological model. “In Cobalt North, we have several opportunities to identify resources in different styles of mineralization that would not have been considered historically. We believe this program will increase our options to find new cobalt resources in the Camp,” Mell explained in the news release.
The company’s decision to begin drilling in Cobalt North was based on polymetallic mineralization found in muckpile grab samples. These yielded grades of up to 0.65 percent cobalt with 4,990 g/t silver and up to 1.79 percent copper with 56 g/t silver. Historic records from the Drummond, Kerr and Conisil mines show almost one million pounds of cobalt and more than 36 million ounces of silver. These records were from a time when silver was the main target mineral, but the global surge in demand for cobalt over the last few years has put the spotlight firmly on developing mining assets for this mineral.
Cobalt is a critical component of the lithium-ion batteries used to power mobile electronic devices and electric vehicles (EVs). Developments in the automotive industry have accelerated the production of EVs. With increasing commitment by the world’s nations to turning away from the use of fossil fuels in order to reduce harmful carbon emissions, several countries around the world have announced plans to phase in a complete ban on fossil fuel-powered vehicles over the next few decades. It is this industry sector that has caused a flood in demand for cobalt.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has traditionally provided the majority of the world’s cobalt. However, the DRC presents an ethical dilemma for cobalt producers because of the prevalence of child labor in its mines. In addition, the country is highly unstable politically, which makes it an investment risk. By making a strategic decision to focus its efforts on developing its Canadian mining interests, First Cobalt has altogether dodged these problems.
In 2017, First Cobalt merged with CobalTech and Cobalt One and now controls over 10,000 acres of land within the Cobalt Camp region for prospecting and development. This includes 50 past-producing mines, a mill and the only permitted refinery in North America capable of producing cobalt battery materials. Currently, the refinery is on care and maintenance, and it has been determined that the facility would benefit significantly from modification and upgrading to realize its full production potential. The company has identified this as a speedier and cheaper option than building an entirely new facility.
First Cobalt is exceptionally well placed to capitalize on the surge of interest in cobalt. Its drill programs are on track and producing excellent results, and, once its refinery is back online, the company has the potential to be one of the largest exploration companies and cobalt producers in the world.
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/FTSSF
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