The growth of cobalt market and demand driven by electronic vehicles
Thursday, Jun 08, 2017
The growing demand for electric vehicles continues to drive the cobalt and lithium market. The price of cobalt surged as much as 158 percent to $56,350 per metric ton on Tuesday, from its low at $21,820 in January 2016. Cobalt is a key component of lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars, smart devices and other consumer electronics. According to a report published by Markets and Markets, the lithium-ion battery market is expected to reach USD 68.97 billion by 2022 or growing at a CAGR of 16.6% between 2016 and 2022. First Cobalt Corp. (OTC: FTSSF), eCobalt Solutions, Inc. (OTC: ECSIF), Katanga Mining Ltd. (OTC: KATFF), Lundin Mining Corp. (OTC: LUNMF), Lithium Americas Corp. (OTC: LACDF).

The report also indicates that lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) battery type is expected to have the largest market share in the lithium-ion battery market, while the lithium nickel manganese cobalt battery type is expected to grow at the fastest pace between 2016 and 2022. Geographically, the Asia-Pacific region is projected to grow at the highest rate and dominate the market during the forecast period due to the continuous development in the consumer and automotive sectors.

First Cobalt Corp. (OTCQB: FTSSF) also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol FCC. Earlier today, the company announced the acquisition of 22 mining claims in Cobalt Ontario, including the former producing Bellellen Mine. This transaction increases First Cobalt's footprint in this prospective cobalt district by 40%.

Highlights:

-Transaction allows First Cobalt to establish a presence in the north of the camp in addition to its substantial presence in the south
-Eight of the 22 claims are contiguous to First Cobalt's flagship Keeley-Frontier project
-The Bellellen Mine is adjacent to the Keeley-Frontier Mine and First Cobalt intends to test for continuity between the two mines in this year's exploration program
-The acquisition totals 848 hectares, increasing the company's footprint by 40% to a total of almost 3,000 hectares of this prolific camp

Trent Mell, President and Chief Executive Officer commented, "This transaction increases our land position in an important mining camp and also achieves two objectives. First, it allows us to test for extensions of the Keeley-Frontier mine to the east of our previous property boundary. Second, we now have a meaningful land position at the north end of the camp, adjacent to Agnico Eagle's properties."

Property Overview - First Cobalt acquired a 100% interest in 22 claims totaling 848 hectares in Cobalt Ontario by making a $325,000 cash payment to Brixton Metals Corp. (TSX.V: BBB). The claims cover prospective ground in both the south, near Silver Centre, as well as the north, near the town of Cobalt.

The southern properties are mining claims and mine leases that connect to First Cobalt Keeley-Frontier properties (see Figure 1). Of particular interest is the historic Bellellan Mine, which has a 70-foot shaft accessing four levels of underground workings that extend to an approximate depth of 400 feet. The historical production records indicated that in 1907, the mine produced 28,481 pounds of cobalt, 38,027 ounces of silver and 13,404 pounds of nickel (McIlwaine, 1970), which is indicative of a base metal enriched mineralization style. The host rocks are altered mafic volcanic rocks similar to those at the Keeley-Frontier deposit. The continuity of the Keeley-Frontier vein system to the Bellellan mineralization is unknown and presents an exciting target for additional drilling.

Some of the claims at the northern end of the camp are located less than one kilometre from the Yukon Refinery, where First Cobalt has an option to enter into a 50-50 joint venture with Cobalt One. The northern claims cover a similar geological setting as that of Keeley-Frontier, where the silver-cobalt veins occur close to the contact between the mafic volcanic rocks and the Nipissing Diabase. These claims have a limited exploration history and warrant prospecting and geological mapping as a first phase of exploration.

eCobalt Solutions, Inc. (OTCQB: ECSIF) provided an update recently on the company's Feasibility Study for the 100% owned Idaho Cobalt Project ('ICP'). The ICP is the only near term, environmentally permitted, primary cobalt project located in the United States. Significant progress on all fronts has been made on the FS over the course of the past couple of months. The project continues to advance with milestones achieved in several disciplines, notwithstanding that some engineering tasks have taken significantly longer than was originally anticipated. In 2016, eCobalt commissioned the Feasibility Study with Micon International Limited ('Micon') and SNC-Lavalin ('SNC'), with initial results expected in late calendar Q2/early Q3, with the NI 43-101 compliant Technical Report for SEDAR filing to follow within 45 days. Feasibility Study engineers have reported that there are no further foreseeable challenges for the engineering efforts at this time.

Katanga Mining Ltd. (OTC: KATFF) operates a major mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo producing refined copper and cobalt. The company has the potential to become Africa's largest copper producer and the world's largest cobalt producer. Earlier in February the company announced its ore reserve and mineral resource estimates as of December 31, 2016. Overall, the measured and indicated mineral resource for Kamoto Copper Company SA ("KCC") (in which the Company has a 75% interest) increased by 68.5 million tonnes since December 31, 2015. The company also indicated that unless otherwise noted, the company's ore reserves are estimated using appropriate cut-off grades based on an assumed long-term price of $6,750 per tonne of copper and long-term price of $30,000 per tonne of cobalt. Ore reserves are estimated using appropriate process recoveries, operating costs and mine plans that are unique to each property and include estimated allowances for dilution and mining recovery.

Lundin Mining Corp. (OTC: LUNMF) is a diversified Canadian base metals mining company with operations in Chile, the United States of America, Portugal, and Sweden, primarily producing copper, nickel and zinc. In addition, Lundin Mining holds an indirect 24% equity stake in the Freeport Cobalt Oy business, which includes a cobalt refinery located in Kokkola, Finland. On May 31st, the company announced that it has obtained the approval and registration with the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority of a prospectus which has been filed on the company's website at http://www.lundinmining.com. The Swedish Prospectus was prepared and filed in order to permit the admission to trading of the company's shares directly on Nasdaq Stockholm following the conversion of Swedish Depository Receipts ('SDRs') to shares. Following this conversion process, the company's shares will be dual listed on TSX and Nasdaq Stockholm. No new shares are being issued by the company in connection with the Nasdaq Stockholm listing or in connection with the Swedish Prospectus.

Lithium Americas Corp. (OTCQX: LACDF) together with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), is developing the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project, located in Jujuy, Argentina, through its 50% interest in Minera Exar. In addition, Lithium Americas owns 100% of the Lithium Nevada project and RheoMinerals Inc., a supplier of rheology modifiers for oil-based drilling fluids, coatings, and specialty chemicals. On March 29th, the company announced results of a Definitive Feasibility Study on the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project in Jujuy province, Argentina. Cauchari-Olaroz is 100% owned by Minera Exar S.A., an Argentine company-owned 50/50 by Lithium Americas and SQM.

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