By Peter Kennedy
Investor interest in cobalt has put one of Canada’s oldest mining camps back in the spotlight. But it is worth remembering that exploration in the Cobalt region of northeastern Ontario is still in the very early stages. It means investors can look for more merger and acquisition activity as well as some surprises in the coming months.
In its heyday back in the early 1900s and beyond, Cobalt was predominantly a silver mining camp, one that produced cobalt as a by-product. But now that cobalt has emerged as a key ingredient in the production of lithium ion batteries needed to support the growing electric vehicle industry, cobalt has replaced silver as the prime exploration target.
Equipped with about $40 million to spend, a group of about a dozen companies is now engaged in a race to be the first to outline a cobalt resource estimate that meets with NI 43-101 standards of compliance.
Below is a list of key players that investors should pay attention to.
First Cobalt Corp. [FCC-TSXV, OTCQB-FTSSF; FCC-ASX] recently moved to enhance its position as a pure-play North American cobalt company by acquiring all of the issued and outstanding shares of US Cobalt Inc. [USCO-TSXV; USCFF-OTCQB].
The company’s primary focus is on its Greater Cobalt Project, which covers over 10,000 hectares of prospective land, including over 50 past-producing mines, a mill and the only permitted cobalt refinery in North America capable of producing battery metals.
Cruz Cobalt Corp. [CUX-TSXV; BKTPF-OTCPink] emerged as one of the biggest land holders in the camp when it recently picked up more ground beside its “Lorraine Cobalt Prospect,” which now covers 10,556 contiguous areas. The newly acquired ground borders First Cobalt and is in the direct vicinity of the town of Cobalt.
Power Americas Minerals Corp. [PAM-TSXV] has also emerged as a big landholder in the Cobalt camp with about 3,300 hectares under its control
The company’s flagship asset is the Kittson cobalt property which hosts the former Shakt Davies, Cobalt Kittson and Edison mines.
Brixton Metals Corp. [BBB-TSXV] tabled initial drill results on February 20, 2018 that the company said confirm the presence of high cobalt, low silver veins on its wholly-owned Hudson Bay Project. Hudson Bay was a high grade silver mine with cobalt produced as a by-product.
iMetal Resources Inc. [IMR-TSXV] said the discovery of gold, silver copper and cobalt mineralization warrants a much closer look at its Gowganda West property west of the main Cobalt camp. Three promising zones discovered to date include the Z4, which contains an old mine shaft. A chip sample of wall rock located in a nearby trench assayed 0.01% cobalt, the company said.
MetalsTech Ltd. [MTC-ASX] recently announced plans to spin out its iCobalt Ltd. [1CO-ASX] subsidiary via a $4.5 million initial public offering in a bid to accelerate exploration activity on its 100%-owned Bay Lake Cobalt Project, which covers 2,774 hectares. Historical mine shafts on the property contain exposed cobalt rich cobaltite veins assaying 15.36%, 15.29%, 14.31% and 15.27% cobalt.
LiCo Energy Metals Inc. [LIC-TSXV, WCTXF-OTCQB] recently completed its obligations to Glencore Canada Corp. under a mineral property acquisition agreement dated August 31, 2017. The property agreement allows LiCo to acquire a 100% in interest in the mining rights for the Glencore Bucke property in Bucke Twp., six kilometres east of Cobalt, Ontario.
Strategically, the Glencore Bucke property consists of 16.2 hectares and sits along the west boundary of LiCo’s Teledyne Cobalt Project. Teledyne covers the southern extension of the former producing 15 Vein on the past producing Aguanico Mine Property. Historically, the Aguanico Mine produced 4,350,000 pounds of cobalt and 980,000 ounces of silver during the mining boom of the early 1900s.
Cobalt Power Group [COP-TSXV, CBBWF-OTCPink] has two projects in the Cobalt camp. They included the 1,169-hectare Smith Cobalt Project, which is immediately east of a former mine that produced approximately 11 million ounces of silver and 100,000 pounds of cobalt.
The Canadian Cobalt Project covers 7,567 hectares and is with close proximity to several historic mines, including the former Keeley and Frontier mines, which together produce 10 million ounces of silver and 3 million pounds of cobalt over 60 years of mine life.
Quantum Cobalt Copper Corp. [QBOT-CSE, BRVVF-OTC] is planning a drill program (subject to permitting) to determine the size of a dump pile that was excavated from the former Nipissing-Lorrain cobalt-silver-nickel mine property. The company is also engaged in early stage exploration at its 100%-owned Kahuna and Rabbit Lake Cobalt projects.
The Kahuna property is comprised of 77 claims, covering about 1,200 hectares. It has already seen some mining activity in the 1920s, yielding about five tonnes of ore, grading 22% cobalt. High grade silver, assaying 20 ounces per ton silver, has also been recorded.
Canada Cobalt Works Inc., [CCW-TSXV] formerly Castle Silver Resources Inc., has changed its name to better reflect the direction of the company. Key assets include properties that host the former Castle, Beaver and Violet mine, which rank as the most advanced properties in the Cobalt camp. Although they comprise only 2,840 hectares, they are sources of high grad cobalt that can quickly be developed into a shovel ready state, the company said.