NEW YORK, August 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Demand for battery materials such as cobalt and lithium continue to increase due to the expanding electric vehicle market. Cobalt is one of the key components in the lithium-ion battery, which is widely used in electric cars and hybrid vehicles. According to a report published by Transparency Market Research, the global lithium-ion battery market is expected to reach $77.42 billion in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 11.6 percent during the forecast year. Demand for other consumer electronics, such as smartphones, wearable devices, is expected to boost the cobalt market. U.S. Cobalt Inc. (OTC: SCTFF), Katanga Mining Ltd. (OTC: KATFF), Ecobalt Solutions Inc. (OTC: ECSIF), Lundin Mining Corp. (OTC: LUNMF), Panasonic Corp. (OTC: PCRFY).
According to a report by Reuters, Consultants CRU Group expect sales of electric vehicles to reach more than 6 million by 2025, from 1.1 million in 2016. Edward Spencer, senior consultant of CRU, said: "In terms of overall demand, EVs (electric vehicles) only consumed around 6.5 percent of refined cobalt in 2016. This will increase to 16.9 percent in 2021 helping lift demand to nearly 130,000 tonnes. We expect a deficit in the region of 900 tonnes this year. However, a far larger deficit could open quickly if mine and refinery capacity growth fails to keep pace."
U.S. Cobalt Inc. (OTCQB: SCTFF) is pleased to announce progress from the 2017 exploration program at the Iron Creek cobalt project in Lemhi County, Idaho, USA. The core drilling program has commenced with three holes complete, the rehabilitation of Adit Number One is complete, and surface work directed at the rehabilitation of the second adit has commenced. Results from rib channel sampling of Adit Number One are presented below.
Adit Number One has been rehabilitated and sampled. A total of 133 channel samples (each five feet in length) have been collected from both ribs along the crosscut and drift. Channel sampling was completed using air powered chisels. Underground surveying is complete, and geological mapping is scheduled to begin immediately. Three cobalt bearing zones were identified by sampling, and two copper zones were identified by sample results. The cobalt mineralization is generally coincident with the copper mineralization.
The central cobalt mineralization occurs at the intersection of the crosscut and drift. Property wide geology, historic drilling results and the underground channel sampling results indicate a steep dip to the mineralization and a northwest strike, and indicate that the crosscut exposes mineralization at an angle perpendicular to the strike of the mineralized zone, thus providing true thickness. This analysis also suggests that the drift exposes the mineralization at more acute angles and thus provides channel sample lengths which exceed the true thickness. The 2017 drilling campaign and detailed underground mapping will contribute further to this understanding. The cobalt and copper mineralization identified by the underground channel sampling program provides an excellent target for drilling cobalt mineralization.
Significantly, the underground channel sampling identified a 20 foot true thickness zone in four channels: 20 feet grading 0.45% cobalt, 20 feet grading 0.57% cobalt, 30 feet grading 0.56% cobalt and 45 feet grading 0.54% cobalt (the latter two channels taken from the drift are at more acute angles to the mineralized zone and do not represent true thickness). Within this zone, higher grade cobalt mineralization was identified in three channel samples: 10 feet grading 1.02% cobalt, 5 feet grading 0.83% cobalt (the sample length is artificially shortened due to rock removed by historic mining), and 20 feet grading 0.70% cobalt - this channel exceeds true thickness of 10 feet due to the orientation of the drift.
The above cobalt mineralization all occurs within a broader zone of cobalt mineralization with a true thickness exposed in the crosscut of 60 feet grading 0.33% cobalt on one rib and 45 feet grading 0.30% cobalt on the opposite rib, and the drift channel sampling occurs entirely within this zone. A hanging wall zone of cobalt mineralization was also identified by the underground channel sampling and is characterized by 15 feet grading 0.28% cobalt, 10 feet grading 0.28% cobalt, 15 feet grading 0.27% cobalt and 15 feet grading 0.40% cobalt. This zone extends outside of the copper mineralization.
Most of the above mentioned cobalt mineralization occurs within copper mineralization identified by the underground channel sampling. The larger copper zone is present in both the crosscut and drive, and has a true thickness of approximately 70 feet grading 0.98% copper on one rib and 65 feet grading 1.0% copper on the opposite side of the crosscut. The copper zone near the portal is not near the drift, and is represented by 20 feet true thickness grading 1.5% copper on one rib and 20 feet true thickness grading 1.14% copper on the opposite rib of the crosscut. This copper mineralization contains three 5 foot channel samples, taken across strike of the zone, which grade 0.55% cobalt, 0.36% cobalt, and 0.23% cobalt.
Two drilling rigs have commenced drilling the eastern end of the No Name Zone. Three drill holes have been completed with a total length of 1,913 feet and the core is currently being logged, cut, and sampled. No samples have been delivered to the lab for analysis as of this date. The first drill hole was designed to test the eastern limit of the central No Name Zone and encountered trace to 3% disseminated and locally massive sulfide mineralization over 401 feet. The second drill hole was drilled approximately 100 feet west of the first hole and encountered 69 feet of disseminated pyrite, chalcopyrite and magnetite up to 5%, and within this zone encountered 15 feet of massive sulfides with minor native copper. Drilling is being conducted around the clock, seven days a week. A total of approximately 30,000 feet of drilling is planned for 2017.
The 2017 drilling campaign is focused on the No Name Zone and is designed to confirm the historic cobalt mineralization and to explore for extensions. Wayne Tisdale, CEO, states, "Our continued confirmation of the Cominco and Noranda data is extremely encouraging. These results show that our work program is right on target."
Katanga Mining Ltd. (OTC: KATFF) operates a large-scale copper-cobalt mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo through two joint ventures, Kamoto Copper Company and DRC Copper and Cobalt Project. The KCC joint venture produced its first copper cathode in December 2007 following the completion of Phase I of a four-phase refurbishment of the brownfield site. The second joint venture, DCP, was acquired through Katanga's merger with Nikanor in January 2008. KCC and DCP operate on adjacent properties in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and are working to create a major single-site copper and cobalt operation.
Ecobalt Solutions Inc. (OTCQB: ECSIF) committed to providing ethically produced, environmentally sound, battery grade cobalt salts, essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors, made safely, responsibly, and transparently in the United States. On June 23, 2017, the company announced an update on the Company's Feasibility Study for the 100% owned Idaho Cobalt Project. The ICP is the only near term, environmentally permitted, primary cobalt project located in the United States. In 2016, eCobalt commissioned the Feasibility Study with Micon International Limited and SNC-Lavalin. Since the Company's May 31, 2017 update, engineering efforts have focused on mine schedule optimization and third-party review of the mine planning parameters. A preliminary mine schedule has been provided to Small Mine Development for costing. The Company anticipates the project's capital cost estimate to be completed near the end of June.
Lundin Mining Corp. (OTC: LUNMF) is a diversified Canadian base metals mining company with operations in Chile, the United States of America, Portugal, and Sweden, primarily producing copper, nickel and zinc. In addition, Lundin Mining holds an indirect 24 percent equity stake in the Freeport Cobalt Oy business, which includes a cobalt refinery located in Kokkola, Finland. On June 23rd, the company announced that it has filed an updated Technical Report for the Neves-Corvo Mine in Portugal, incorporating the results of the Zinc Expansion Project Feasibility Study.
Panasonic Corp. (OTC: PCRFY) is a worldwide leader in the development of diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, and B2B businesses. Panasonic Corporation and Tesla Motors, Inc. have signed an agreement that lays out their cooperation on the construction of a large-scale battery manufacturing plant in the United States, known as the Gigafactory. JB Straubel, Chief Technical Officer and Co-founder of Tesla Motors said: "The Gigafactory represents a fundamental change in the way large scale battery production can be realized. Not only does the Gigafactory enable capacity needed for the Model 3 but it sets the path for a dramatic reduction in the cost of energy storage across a broad range of applications."
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