- Demand for cobalt predicted to surge as electric vehicle market revs up
- Cobalt is an essential element in the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in EV market and mobile devices
- Global battery market projected to reach $17.26 billion by 2021
- Building the world’s largest pure-play cobalt exploration company with interests in historic Canadian Cobalt Camp
Fueling renewable batteries requires cobalt, a coveted, rare metal that is projected to fall into short supply by 2025 (http://nnw.fm/kM3i7). Canadian-headquartered First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQB: FTSSF) is the largest landowner in Ontario’s Cobalt Camp, with control of over 10,000 hectares (nearly 25,000 acres) of prospective land and 50 historic cobalt/silver mines. The company’s assets include a mill and the only permitted cobalt extraction refinery in North America capable of producing battery material, providing an integrated solution for cobalt projects (http://nnw.fm/Ord8V).
World governments are quickly moving to ban gas and diesel engines in an effort to slash carbon emissions, turning instead to electric powered vehicles. The global battery market that powers this surging sector is expected to reach $17.26 billion by 2021, according to a report by MarketsandMarkets (http://nnw.fm/NqJj1). First Cobalt’s exploratory drilling efforts continue to show promising potential, with the latest signs of cobalt mineralization appearing in drill results from the Woods Extension Zone of Cobalt South in the Canadian Cobalt Camp, as noted in a recent news release by First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell.
“We remain encouraged by the cobalt potential of the Woods Extension Zone,” Mell said in a news release (http://nnw.fm/ee32A). “Broad breccia areas have not been seen previously at either the Frontier or Keeley Mines and new fault zones continue to be found. We have confirmed cobalt occurs in two different structures at relatively shallow depths that may extend to surface. The key objective of the 2018 exploration program is to identify potential targets in the Cobalt Camp that could be amenable to open pit mining.”
In addition, positive assay results taken from two drill holes near the Kerr Mine in the Cobalt North area of the Cobalt Camp (http://nnw.fm/zLa6b) show both cobalt and silver, indicating a potential network of mineralization across more than 100 meters. Three additional holes have been drilled and logged, with assays now pending. Preliminary results have so far shown significant copper, lead and zinc intersecting the mineralized zone, indicating a more easily targeted follow-up drilling area than individual veins would offer, Mell said.
More than half of the world’s cobalt supply is mined in the politically unstable Democratic Republic of the Congo, where rising concerns over documented cases of child labor in the mines is driving a significant flurry of interest into alternative, conflict-free cobalt sources – including First Cobalt’s historic mining region.
“Anybody who has cobalt outside the DRC is in a better situation because carmakers are very worried about their supply chains,” Roger Bell, director of mining research at Hannam & Parters in London, stated in a Bloomberg report (http://nnw.fm/2Qj5l). Bell believes that the amount of cobalt being used in electric cars could easily double in the next eight to 15 years. “Even in the most conservative assumptions, you’re looking at maybe a 20 percent gap between supply and demand for cobalt by 2025,” he added.
First Cobalt’s approach to ethical, responsible mining and refining of cobalt resources includes a transparent tracing of how the company conducts its exploration programs. First Cobalt adopted the Responsible Cobalt Initiative in 2017, which calls on member companies to identify and address potential adverse impacts arising from their business activities and relationships. Tracking how cobalt is extracted, transported, manufactured and sold is part of the initiative’s framework (http://nnw.fm/dlIx0).
First Cobalt’s recent agreement to acquire Idaho-based US Cobalt Inc. (TSX.V: USCO) (OTCQB: USCFF) enhances the company’s position as a pure-play North American cobalt company, as Mell detailed in a news release (http://nnw.fm/5I7Ef).
“We foresee a shortage of cobalt over the next five years yet there are few companies doing significant work to identify new sources of supply,” Mell said in announcing the deal. “This transaction creates a larger platform to discover and develop cobalt projects for the growing electric vehicle market by combining high quality North American assets in two of the best cobalt jurisdictions outside the DRC. US Cobalt’s Idaho project complements our Canadian Cobalt Camp properties, offering upside potential for shareholders of both companies.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/FTSSF
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