Electra Battery Materials Corp. [ELBM-TSXV, NASDAQ] released an updated mineral resource estimate (2023 MRE) for its 100%-owned Iron Creek Cobalt-Copper Project located in the Idaho Cobalt Belt, a 34-mile-long formation containing some of the largest primary cobalt deposits in North America, that paves the way for additional exploration activities and development of a preliminary economic assessment.
Highlights: Indicated resource of 4.4 million tonnes grading at 0.19% cobalt for 18.4 million pounds cobalt and grading at 0.73% copper for 71.5 million pounds of copper.
Inferred resource of 1.2 million tonnes grading at 0.08% cobalt for 2.1 million pounds of cobalt and grading at 1.34% copper for 36.5 million pounds of copper.
As a result of infill and step-out drilling completed to date, Electra has upgraded 54% of the Inferred Resource category of the 2019 MRE to the Indicated category in 2023.
The mineral resource area of the Iron Creek Project covers an area of a 1,652-metre strike length at a 780-metre width and extending to a height of 852 metres.
Within the Iron Creek project boundary there are seven document occurrences of metallic mineralization exposed at surface or encountered by drilling. Iron Creek is main mineralized body and Ruby is the second most important occurrence.
The 2023 MRE was prepared for a potential underground scenario with a US$87.00 net smelter return (NSR) cut-off grade. Additional drilling is recommended to connect isolated intercepts on the east and at depth with the resource area, and advance the Ruby target to increase the inferred mineral resource.
“Continued exploration and development of the Idaho Cobalt Belt will help to reduce North America’s reliance on foreign sources of cobalt supply particularly as demand for critical minerals will grows exponentially in the coming years,” said Trent Mell, CEO. “Our updated mineral resources estimate, which reflects the encouraging results of drill programs completed to date, paves the way for continued exploration activities and development of a preliminary economic assessment.”
The project has been recommended to move to a two-phased work program. Phase one would include exploration drilling to drill off the Ruby Zone, step-out from the current resource at 100-metre step-outs, and evaluate the CAS target area. A phase two program would be conditional on favorable results from phase 1 and include completion of a preliminary economic assessment and updated technical report in phase 2.
The Iron Creek Project consists of mining patents and exploration claims over an area of 3,300 hectares covering the strike extent of strata hosting mineralization. Historic underground development at Iron Creek includes 600 metres of drifting from three adits. A road connects the property to a state highway and nearby towns, Challis and Salmon.
Electra is a processor of low-carbon, ethically-sourced battery materials. Currently commissioning North America’s only cobalt sulfate 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 sulfate 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 sulfate processing into Becancour, Quebec.