Electra Battery options CAS cobalt project, Idaho

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Electra Battery Materials Corp. [ELBM-TSXV, NASDAQ] has acquired a cobalt property in proximity to the company’s projects in Idaho and provided an update on exploration activities in the Idaho cobalt belt, home to the largest unmined cobalt resource in the United States.

Highlights: Electra optioned a 5.3-km2 land package adjacent to the Iron Creek deposit with historic drilling highlights that include 6.25 metres at 0.51% cobalt and 7.5 ppm (parts per million) gold from 77.5 to 83.8 metres in historic drilling.

Additional mineralization was intercepted on the eastern extension of the Iron Creek resource area of 5.6 metres at 0.25% cobalt in IC22-01 from 228.8 to 234.3 metres.

Additional mineralization was intercepted at the Ruby target, 1.5 km southeast of the Iron Creek deposit, of 4.3 metres at 0.25% cobalt in IC22-04 from 211.4 to 215.8 metres.

Permitting is under way for a 10-year, 92 drill pad plan of operations with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS) to conduct systematic exploration at the camp scale on Iron Creek, Ruby, CAS, and additional exploration targets within Electra’s 32.6-km2 land package.

“Sourcing domestic supply of cobalt has become even more critical with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Trent Mell, CEO. “While our primary focus continues to centre on the commissioning of North American’s first cobalt sulphate refinery and launching our battery materials recycling demonstration plant in the coming weeks, advancing exploration activities in the Idaho cobalt belt are key to our long-term growth and efforts to onshore the EV [electric vehicle] battery supply chain.”

Following the success of the 2022 field season, the company concluded an option agreement to acquire the CAS property, a 5.3- km2 land package of lode mining claims adjacent to Electra’s Iron Creek deposit. The CAS property includes an outcropping mesothermal quartz vein swarm with cobalt and gold mineralization. Historic reports indicate 2,622 metres of drilling were completed in 19 holes. This historic drilling intercepted anomalous zones of gold and cobalt associated with the vein swarms with up to 6.25 metres at 0.51% cobalt and 7.5 ppm gold from 77.5 to 83.8 metres. Material from historic drilling is no longer available for check assays and, as these results cannot be verified by Electra, they cannot be relied upon at this time.

Rights to CAS were acquired for US$1.5-million, payable over 10 years upon completion of specific milestones. The underlying claim owner will retain a 1.5% NSR (net smelter return) purchasable by Electra for US$500,000 within one year of commercial production from the CAS property. Terms to acquire CAS was reached in March 2023, and formally ratified by Electra’s board of directors this week.

With this latest transaction, Electra’s land package now covers 32.6 km2 of prospective property with known occurrences of cobalt, copper and gold. Combined with Electra’s Iron Creek and Ruby properties, the addition of CAS provides Electra with three significant areas of cobalt occurrences within close proximity to each other, with potential to expand the cobalt endowment of the camp.

Significant cobalt mineralization was intercepted in all drill holes completed by Electra in 2022 at both Iron Creek and Ruby. At Iron Creek, intercepts indicate both that the Iron Creek system remains open to the east and that the Ruby system remains open to the west.

The final drill assays from the 2022 season included 7.9 metres at 0.22% cobalt in Iron Creek drill hole IC22-01 from 228.8 to 236.6 metres, as well as 4.3 metres at 0.25% cobalt in Ruby drill hole IC22-04 from 211.4 to 215.8 metres.

True thickness is estimated at 50-65% of the reported intercept in IC22-01 and 65 to 95% of the reported intercept in IC22-04 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. The company has commissioned an independent engineering company to complete an updated 43-101 technical report on the project. The updated report is expected in the first quarter of 2023.

The company is currently advancing permitting with the USFS for 92 drill pads encompassing Iron Creek, Ruby and CAS, which could be explored over 10 years. The permit scoping documents were published by the USFS for a 30-day public comment period, which commenced on November 24, 2022.

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.

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 on-shoring the electric vehicle supply chain.

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