First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTC: FTSSF)
First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTC: FTSSF), with headquarters in Canada, is a vertically integrated pure-play cobalt company with three significant North American assets. Its most prospective, flagship asset, the Iron Creek Project, is located in Idaho. Exploration of the Iron Creek Project is supported by a $9 million work program engineered to increase drilling along a mineralized strike with the hope of fast-tracking the prized asset for future production. Cobalt is a critical low-heat element of the lithium-ion batteries that fuel smartphones, laptops and a burgeoning market in electrical vehicles sought as an environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-driven cars.
First Cobalt, which recently acquired the Iron Creek Project, is conducting a mineral resource estimate to confirm a historic estimate (non-compliant with NI 43-101) of 1.3 million tons grading 0.59 percent cobalt at the site. The company intends to publish a resource estimate by October 2018 and complete an additional 30,000 meters of drilling designed to double the mineralized zone along strike beyond the area drilled in 2017.
"First Cobalt acquired US Cobalt because we believe that Iron Creek is one of the most prospective and advanced projects in North America. With a historic resource estimate, patented land and 600 meters of underground development, Iron Creek is a prized high grade primary cobalt asset in a great mining jurisdiction," Trent Mell, president and CEO of First Cobalt, states. "Today's budget and work program is a testament to our conviction about this cobalt-copper projects' ability to be expanded and ultimately fast-tracked for future production in North America."
First Cobalt's exploration project in Idaho and an additional one in Canada's famed Cobalt Camp mining region position it well to also take advantage of conflict metal concerns surrounding the reported human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo's cobalt-rich mines, which currently supply about two-thirds of the entire cobalt supply worldwide.
The company's assets in Canada also include the only permitted cobalt extraction refinery in North America capable of producing battery material, providing an integrated solution for cobalt projects. A study is underway to determine the appropriate scale and capital requirements for restarting the facility, which has been on care and maintenance since 2015. Results of this study are expected mid-2018.
First Cobalt is the largest land owner in the Cobalt Camp in Ontario with control of over 10,000 hectares (nearly 25,000 acres) of prospective land and 50 historic cobalt/silver mines. First Cobalt's 2018 $C7 million drilling program, which includes testing different styles of mineralized areas throughout the Cobalt Camp in more than 10 past-producing mines known to contain cobalt, is a significant expansion over its 2017 exploration activities. Also ongoing is a prospecting sampling program of existing muckpiles around the camp's historic mines, trenches, pits and surrounding bedrock with a view to providing a possible early production scenario.
First Cobalt Corp. is moving quickly to leverage its potential against an economic background that estimates global consumption for refined cobalt is set to grow at an average rate of approximately 5 percent per annum for the next 10 years. The electric vehicle market, in particular, is driving this sector since more than 50 percent of the world's current production of cobalt is used in the manufacture of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The global lithium-ion battery market, as estimated by Zion Market Research, indicates the value at around USD $31 billion in 2016 and is expected to generate revenue of nearly USD $68 billion by end of 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate of slightly above 17 percent.
First Cobalt is embracing innovation in the mining sector, utilizing a digital compilation of 100-plus years of mining and geological data spanning the historically prolific Cobalt Mining Camp's lifespan. First Cobalt's management team is also assessing the ability of artificial intelligence to accelerate the discovery cycle. As a member of the Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) and Metal Earth Project, First Cobalt is participating in regional geophysical surveys for geological interpretation of structures controlling cobalt-silver mineralization.
The company's clear pathway to production and cash flow generation includes its mineral rich Iron Creek Project in Idaho and being one of only four fully permitted cobalt extraction refineries in Canada with significant material and processing infrastructure on site. With the price of cobalt increasing significantly and its importance in the growing battery market underpinning a strong long-term demand forecast, First Cobalt Corp. and its mining interests are primed for success.
First Cobalt Corp. President and CEO Trent Mell, a mining executive and capital markets professional with 20 years of operating and transactional experience, is joined by a team of reputable and seasoned mine builders, mine operators and deal-makers with decades of global experience in exploration, business development, geoscience, engineering and finance.