Electra Battery Materials Corp. [ELBM-TSXV, NASDAQ] has confirmed the existence of a new cobalt zone in the Idaho cobalt belt, following the receipt of assay results from drilling at its Ruby prospect. The new drill intercepts are located in close proximity to the 100%-owned flagship Iron Creek cobalt-copper deposit. Results from Electra’s summer exploration program support a more extensive drill campaign to determine the full extent of Ruby’s mineralization.
“Significant investments are being made in North America to onshore the electric vehicle supply chain, and the state of Idaho has an important role to play in developing a domestic supply of critical metals such as cobalt,” said Trent Mell, CEO. “We are very excited that drilling of our Ruby prospect supports our thesis that there are new cobalt targets in the Idaho cobalt belt.”
Mell added, “The assay results pave the way for additional drilling and underscore the potential for Idaho to become and important source of cobalt in the U.S. and reduce North America’s reliance on foreign supply.”
The Ruby target is a new zone of cobalt mineralization located approximately 1.5 km southeast of Electra’s flagship Iron Creek deposit.
Cobalt mineralization intercepted in the first two holes drilled at Ruby include 6.4 metres at 0.21% cobalt in IC22-02 from 307.5 to 313.9 metres and 0.64 metres at 0.87% cobalt in IC22-03A from 364.3 to 364.9 metres.
The drill holes are Electra’s first in the Ruby target, testing the eastern portion of a geophysics anomaly that appears to thicken to the west as it approaches a fault system.
“Drill results confirmed the presence of significant cobalt mineralization identified in the chargeability anomaly imaged in this year’s 3-D induced polarization survey,” said Dan Pace, Electra’s principal geologist. “Additional drilling is warranted to evaluate the extent of the mineralization, which has a similar geophysical footprint to the Iron Creek deposit.”
The Iron Creek project is located within Electra’s Idaho property, which consists of mining patents and exploration claims over an area of 2,300 hectares covering the strike extent of strata hosting mineralization. Historic underground development at Iron Creek includes 600 metres of drifting from three adits. An all-weather road connects the property to a state highway and nearby towns Challis and Salmon.
Electra completed 1,674 metres of drilling in the 2022 exploration program. One hole was drilled targeting the eastern extension of the Iron Creek resource with results pending. Three holes and two wedge offset holes were completed on the Ruby target approximately 1.5 km southeast of Iron Creek targeting geophysical anomalies and surface outcropping cobalt mineralization. The first reported intercepts confirm the presence of significant cobalt mineralization associated with the pyrite zones intercepted in drilling at Ruby.
Electra is advancing permitting on a new plan of operations in collaboration with the Salmon-Challis National Forest to conduct additional drilling programs in 2023. The plan will allow for a multiyear exploration program to systematically evaluate the Ruby zone, complete step-out drilling on the Iron Creek resource and evaluate additional high-priority targets within the claim block. Electra has also been awarded a 217-acre-feet water right from the State of Idaho Department of Water Resources to support exploration and mining activities on the Iron Creek property. The water right is contingent on showing beneficial use on or before September 1, 2027.
True thickness is estimated at 70 to 95% of reported thickness based on the contact angle of the sulphide zones to the core axis. Cobalt intercepts are calculated using a 0.18% cobalt cut-off and allowing one sample interval of internal dilution. IC22-03A is a wedged/twin of IC22-03 from 361 to 380 metres and is a more representative intercept of the mineralized zone than IC22-03.
Electra is a processor of low-carbon, ethically sourced battery materials. Currently commissioning North America’s only cobalt sulphate refinery, Electra is executing a multipronged strategy focused on onshoring the electric vehicle supply chain. Keys to its strategy are integrating black mass recycling and nickel sulphate production at Electra’s refinery located north of Toronto, advancing Iron Creek, its cobalt-copper exploration-stage project in the Idaho cobalt belt, and expanding cobalt sulphate processing into Becancour, Quebec.