- New report intercepts additional mineralization at First Cobalt’s flagship project in western United States
- Company has established inferred resource estimate and is working to quickly produce an updated resource statement while doubling strike length
- First Cobalt has also begun testing material at the only permitted cobalt refinery in North America capable of delivering a battery-grade product
The prospects of pure play cobalt explorer First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQX: FTSSF) (ASX: FCC) as it develops a site in the western United States are continuing to materialize, with drilling extending the mineral zonation beyond limits that were previously known at its flagship project. The company also continues to work on restarting a cobalt refinery in eastern Canada that is the only currently permitted cobalt refinery in North America capable of producing materials for the computer industry’s lithium-ion batteries.
First Cobalt previously identified two primary areas of mineral potential at its Iron Creek Cobalt Project in Idaho, noted as the Waite and No Name zones, with inferred mineral resources of 26.9 million metric tons grading 0.11 percent cobalt equivalent. The zones comprised more than 500 meters (1,640.4 feet) of known strike length and dip depth of over 150 meters (492.1 feet) for the inferred resource statement, which are now being doubled through additional drilling along a 1,000-meter (3,280.8-foot) strike with testing of down dip extensions in known cobalt-copper zones to more than 300 meters (984.3 feet) below the surface.
Three drill rigs are now onsite at the central Idaho location near the Montana state line, working to spur completion of an updated resource estimate by early 2019. The company announced its latest drilling results shortly before Thanksgiving (http://ibn.fm/RZbIT), reporting that it had intercepted broad widths of high-grade mineralization in the eastern part of the strike, where the higher grade cobalt has primarily been found previously. The report noted 32.3 meters (106 feet) of 0.31 percent cobalt and an equal percentage of copper in one of the holes, plus 21.1 meters (69.2 feet) of 0.32 percent cobalt and 0.20 percent copper in another.
The results were from three holes drilled in the eastern end of the strike and three others in the central portion. The drilling shows additional mineralization between the two zones and in the footwall of the Waite Zone, with “massive sulphide intercepts” between the zones boosting the discovered continuity and size of higher grade cobalt mineralization near underground adits from prior operations.
The drilling also extends the known depth of mineralization in some locations, with mineralization remaining open at depth.
In addition to the massive sulphide horizons, the drilling has identified disseminated sulphides that are prevalent in the same areas, “representing lower grade cobalt halos with potential for extraction by bulk mining methods.” Future drilling will continue to identify their boundaries and target the higher grade metals.
“These results confirm the continuity and consistency of mineralization predicted by our geological model and add further support for the development vision for the future of the project as we build towards the updated resource estimate in early 2019,” CEO Trent Mell stated in the news release.
The report comes on the heels of news that First Cobalt has begun testing cobalt hydroxide material as feedstock for its refinery in Ontario (http://ibn.fm/kTA2e). Specialized international inspections and testing firm SGS Canada Inc. is working with First Cobalt to test the suitability of different cobalt feed material using the company’s current flowsheet, with the immediate expectation of assessing how cobalt hydroxide will perform in production of cobalt sulphate or metallic cobalt products for sale in the North American market.
“Our objective is to enter into a long-term agreement for a reliable source of ethically-mined cobalt,” Mell stated. “The cash flow potential from restarting the refinery in as little as 18 months could allow us to fund a significant amount of work to advance our flagship Iron Creek Cobalt Project in Idaho, USA while also providing a much-needed North American source of cobalt. In parallel with these tests, management has commenced discussions with third party sources of capital that would minimize or eliminate any equity dilution associated with a restart of the First Cobalt Refinery.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://ibn.fm/FTSSF