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Global Ecological Concerns Help Drive Potential of Mineral Exploration Company First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQX: FTSSF)

  • Several nations are preparing to ban or reduce petroleum-fueled vehicle sales, raising the capital of electric vehicle components
  • First Cobalt is exploring the potential of quick-to-market resources for supplying EV battery needs
  • In spite of industry’s exploratory efforts to reduce reliance on cobalt, experts continue to predict outsized market for coming decade

Companies tied to the mining industry generally would not be among the first to receive recognition for their efforts to sustain the planet’s ecosystem, but the reality is that mineral explorers such as First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQX: FTSSF) (ASX: FCC) are actively engaged in searching for ways to deliver resources to the commodities market that are friendlier to the environment than those preferred in dominant technologies.

Automobile manufacturers are on the front lines of the global shift in fuel standards occasioned by developed nations’ efforts to reduce fossil fuel emissions that pollute the air. Countries such as France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, India and the Netherlands have begun establishing governmental policies that will ban the sale of traditional combustion-engine vehicles after a coming date (http://nnw.fm/R3tHh), while China is aiming to improve its environmental quality by requiring two million EV sales per year by 2020 (http://nnw.fm/yY6Tv). Likewise, 10 states within the United States, led by California, plan to require millions of EVs on the road as a percentage of their automotive markets within the coming decade in what is shaping up as a potential battle with the federal government (http://nnw.fm/O9NUu).

While the health impact of air pollution has occupied a significant amount of the discussion, concerns about fossil fuels’ impact on the environment are also visible in the increasing reports of global climate change, such as news about the warming of arctic regions (http://nnw.fm/8IZyb) and the impact of rising sea levels on ocean-front real estate values (http://nnw.fm/En8vj).

That global interest has driven the cobalt market to astronomical price increases during the past two years. Cobalt is a metal key to the development of electric vehicle conversion plans because of its significance in providing low-heat stability to the lithium-ion batteries currently used as standard in EV power trains. Cobalt is in relatively scarce supply compared to the pending demand, however, and its primary sourcing from countries out of favor with developed Western nations has spawned efforts to find cobalt-alternative battery supplies. Amid those efforts, the demand for cobalt is still forecast to rise by more than double its current high levels, according to commodities research-house Wood Mackenzie (http://nnw.fm/Jz60z), and the head of strategic cobalt marketing at Kazakh mining company Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) recently predicted that the cobalt boom “is guaranteed for the next seven to 10 years” based on continued “legacy” demand in ceramics, jet engines and other products (http://nnw.fm/GA69y).

First Cobalt Corp., with headquarters in Canada, is a vertically integrated North America pure-play cobalt company. First Cobalt is operating three significant North American assets: the Iron Creek Project in Idaho, which has a historic mineral resource estimate (non-compliant with NI 43-101 reporting standards) of 1.3 million tons grading 0.59 percent cobalt; 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.

The currently shuttered refinery has the potential to play a significant role in an emerging metals market on the continent — for now, China’s refineries process 80 percent of the world’s supply of cobalt (http://nnw.fm/K0afG), creating a significant reliance on trade with that nation amid recent escalations in commerce politics between the United States and China.

First Cobalt listed earlier this year on the OTCQX Canada Index and is focusing its efforts on bringing the Idaho site’s historic estimate up to modern reporting compliance before the end of the year.

For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/FTSSF

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