eCobalt Solutions ramps up pre-construction at Idaho cobalt project

The eCobalt Solutions Idaho Cobalt Project 26 miles east of Salon. Source: eCobalt Solutions Inc.

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The eCobalt Solutions Idaho Cobalt Project 26 miles east of Salon. Source: eCobalt Solutions Inc.

eCobalt Solutions Inc. [ECS-TSX, ECSIF-OTCQX] on Monday April; 23 released an update on its progress at the company’s flagship Idaho Cobalt Project, 26 miles east of Salmon, Idaho.

The update comes just weeks after eCobalt closed a $29.9 million bought deal financing, allowing the company to advance development of the its 100%-owned Idaho Cobalt Project, which could soon rank as the only primary producer of cobalt in the United States.

eCobalt aims to emerge as a rare primary producer in a sector where the majority of the world’s cobalt is mined as a by-product of copper and nickel.

“As we prepare for underground mine development, capital raised from our recent financing is being deployed on pre-construction activities as planned,” eCobalt CEO Paul Farquharson has said.

“Delivery of the water treatment plant components has commenced, and we have awarded contracts to construct the plant starting in May,” he said.

Additional progress highlights include:

Construction contracts have been awarded for the water management ponds; building pads for the concentrator, mill and water treatment plant; QA/AC for all earth work and concrete; fuel island; gravel haul; and potable water wells.

Engineering for the roaster design in the optimized feasibility study is progressing based on data gained from pilot plant tests being conducted with Dundee Sustainable Technologies.

Additional surface construction support equipment is being delivered to the site. Transition from pre-construction environmental monitoring to the Operational Monitoring schedule has begun

Over the course of the coming weeks, pre-construction activities will continue to progress in preparation for full construction ramp up in the summer of 2018, the company said.

eCobalt shares eased 0.71% or $0.01 to $1.40 in early trading Monday. The 52-week range is $2.10 and 85 cents.

The company recently announced an updated resource estimate for the Idaho Cobalt Project, where total measured and indicated resources have increased to 3.87 million tons at 0.59% cobalt, up from 3.44 million tonnes at 0.59%

In the new estimate, inferred resources have also increased to 1.82 million tonnes at 0.46% cobalt from 1.54 million tonnes at 0.50%.

The company has said these new estimates will be incorporated into a new, optimized feasibility study that is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.

Cobalt has become a much sought after commodity in recent years. Due to its key role in the production of rechargeable batteries used in the manufacture of electric vehicles, the price of cobalt has more than tripled to over US$36/lb since early 2016, reaching the highest level in 10 years.

eCobalt said,  “We are committed to providing clean cobalt products essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors, made safely, responsibly, and transparently in the United States.” Initial production is anticipated by 2019.

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