- First Cobalt is concentrating on building a North American portfolio of assets that are highly leveraged to the fast-growing EV market for cobalt, used in lithium-ion batteries
- First Cobalt’s acquisition of US Cobalt provides a potential feedstock for cobalt ore for processing at the First Cobalt Refinery, the only permitted cobalt extraction refinery in North America that can produce battery grade material
- The First Cobalt Refinery is a strategic asset fully permitted to process North American feedstock
An exploration stage corporation, First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQB: FTSSF) is working to build the largest global pure-play cobalt exploration and development company, with its North American portfolio of assets that are highly leveraged to the rapidly growing cobalt market being pushed by rising interest in electric vehicles. Established in early 2017, First Cobalt’s primary emphasis is on its Greater Cobalt Project located about 500 km north of Toronto, Ontario.
Cobalt is used in components for lithium-ion batteries, and the growing demand for electric vehicle power is fueling the market for the mineral, according to Transparency Market Research via MarketInsider (http://nnw.fm/0k63H). Over the next decade, global demand for cobalt is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 11.6 percent, according to Forbes (http://nnw.fm/XrfK1). The Greater Cobalt Project consists of 10,000 hectares of prospective land, including more than 50 past producing mines. While not the only North American explorer focused on cobalt, First Cobalt is the largest. Its assets also include a mill and the only permitted cobalt extraction refinery in North America that can produce battery grade material.
The company is initiating a study of the First Cobalt Refinery in the Canadian Cobalt Camp. It’s a hydrometallurgical cobalt-silver-nickel refinery commissioned in 1996 and situated roughly five kilometers east of Cobalt, Ontario. First Cobalt is not currently producing at the refinery, although the facility ran as recently as three years ago.
The primary motivation of the study’s timing is First Cobalt’s recently announced friendly merger with US Cobalt and its primary asset, which is the Iron Creek cobalt project in Idaho. With US Cobalt anticipating a Mineral Resource Estimate in 2018, the Iron Creek asset could be in production in as few as three years and could provide feedstock to the refinery. The refinery could then produce cobalt sulphate for the North American battery market. This combination of resource and unique refining capabilities represents a huge opportunity for First Cobalt, positioning the refinery as a key focus for the company.
The intention of the study is to help First Cobalt estimate the capital needs for the future restart of the refinery. It will also estimate the increase in throughput of an expanded facility within the present building footprint. In addition, operating cost estimates will be provided for both scenarios.
In a news release, Trent Mell, president and CEO of First Cobalt, said, “As we move forward with [the] proposed acquisition of US Cobalt and ongoing studies of early cash flow opportunities in the Cobalt Camp from historic muckpile material, this Refinery study will drive us closer to our goal of being a vertically integrated North American cobalt company.”
Underpinning all of this is the fact that a substantial portion of the world’s cobalt sourcing has major challenges. This sourcing now depends on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where child labor is common. First Cobalt offers a significant ethical advantage because it is developing cobalt sources in Canada. Moreover, the company has the potential of greatly assisting in the renaissance of the nearby community of Cobalt, Ontario.
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/FTSSF
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