- Cobalt strike resource estimate underway at First Cobalt’s Iron Creek Project
- Potential for fast-track startup in Idaho could provide North American response to growing tech metal demand
- Drilling program aims to provide NI 43-101-compliant confirmation of historic estimate of 1.3 million tons grading 0.59 percent cobalt
America’s Gem State could also form the bedrock of future-tech mineral exploration once First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQX: FTSSF) (ASX: FCC) completes a mineral resource estimate on a prized asset that it acquired earlier this month. On June 11, First Cobalt announced a $9 million program to increase drilling along a mineralized strike in Idaho’s Iron Creek Project with the hope of fast-tracking it for future production.
First Cobalt obtained the Iron Creek Project through its purchase of US Cobalt after determining that the Idaho site could complement exploration work that the company was already pursuing in Canada’s famed Cobalt Camp north of the Great Lakes. US Cobalt explored the Iron Creek Project last year through a 40-hole, 10,700-meter program to confirm a historic estimate of 1.3 million tons grading 0.59 percent cobalt and 0.3 percent copper that was not compliant with current reporting standards.
“First Cobalt acquired US Cobalt because we believe that Iron Creek is one of the most prospective and advanced projects in North America,” First Cobalt President and CEO Trent Mell stated in a news release regarding the exploration program (http://nnw.fm/j3pS7).
Establishing North American sources for cobalt has become a priority among many junior miners amid concerns over the human rights violations reported in conjunction with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s cobalt operations. The DRC is far-and-away the world’s largest current producer of the metal, sourcing two-thirds of the entire global supply, and 80 percent of the world’s cobalt is processed in China. First Cobalt’s properties in Canada not only include 50 historic mining operations situated on nearly 25,000 acres, but also a mill and the only permitted cobalt extraction refinery in North America capable of resuming material production.
Cobalt’s renewed value lies largely in the emerging demand for electric vehicles on a multi-national basis. Electric vehicles are touted as an environmentally cleaner alternative to fossil fuel-driven vehicles, but a vast majority rely heavily on the energy efficient qualities of lithium-ion batteries. Cobalt comprises a significant element of those batteries. European countries and China are pushing for sharp increases in EV production and phasing out gasoline-powered vehicle sales. The state of California is also notable in its push for greater EV use. Notably, cobalt also enjoys a national security status, because it is a critical element for some military resources, such as rocket and jet engines.
The Iron Creek Project exploration will include drilling another 70 holes as part of an additional 30,000 meters of surveying throughout the mineral strike zone. The drilling is designed to double the strike length of the cobalt-copper zone from 460 meters to 900 meters. A maiden mineral resource estimate compliant with NI 43-101 standards is expected by October. The drilling began in February and has already extended the known mineralization to over 520 meters of strike to date, according to a report issued this month. The work program will also include surface sampling of exposed bedrock in search of cobalt-copper prospects away from the Iron Creek mineralization.
Part of the attractiveness of the site in Idaho’s prolific Cobalt Belt is that historic mining left significant infrastructure already in place, including three horizontal-entry adits with 600 meters of drifting extraction area and an all-weather road that connects the project to a state highway. The company has all of the necessary permits in place to complete its 2018 program.
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/FTSSF
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