NEW YORK, February 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
According to Grand View Research, Inc. the global lithium-ion battery market size was valued at USD 22.8 billion in 2016 and is expected to increase to USD 93.1 billion by 2025, while growing at a CAGR of 17 percent. A growing number of applications for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, portable consumer electronics and grid storage systems due to its high energy density drives market demand. The report specifies that the Lithium cobalt oxide (LCO) was the leading product segment and was valued at USD 7.15 billion in 2016. Cobalt is a crucial component of the lithium-ion battery market. The Benchmark Mineral Intelligence reports that 75% of lithium-ion battery cathode capacities are expected to contain some volume of cobalt by 2020. First Cobalt Corp. (OTC: FTSSF), Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY), Advantage Lithium Corp. (OTC: AVLIF), Lundin Mining Corp. (OTC: LUNMF), Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTC: MLNLF)
The primary focus of automakers has been reducing costs while increasing energy density and vehicle range. William Tokash, Senior Research Analyst with Navigant Research explained, "The push by automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and battery manufacturers to continually reduce battery pack costs continues… This effort, led by improving battery manufacturing processes and maturing supply chains, is anticipated to yield a market driven by battery electric vehicles where both large and small capacity Li-ion battery-pack-equipped vehicles have markedly improved driving ranges."
First Cobalt Corp. (OTCQB: FTSSF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol 'FCC'. Just earlier today the company announced, "high grade cobalt assays up to 2.01% cobalt from surface sampling near the past producing Hamilton mine in Cobalt North.
- Grab samples at the former Hamilton mine confirm high grade cobalt veins including 2.01%, 1.92% and 1.55% Co, as well as silver grades up to 195 oz/t Ag (5,527 g/t Ag)
- Results confirm the presence of high cobalt in an area where historic mining focused on silver
"We are continuing to validate these high grade areas of the Cobalt Camp. Broader mineralized systems with lower average grades are more attractive longer term targets as they hold potential for large low-cost, open pit operations," commented President & Chief Executive Officer, Trent Mell. "These high grade areas may represent the centre of a broader mineralized system similar to the zones recently identified in Cobalt South. The high grade zones could provide early feed for startup operations. Hamilton is one of several areas we plan to explore in 2018 with more than 15,000 metres planned in Cobalt North."
Sixteen grab samples from muckpile at the Hamilton shaft were collected to test the metal contents of mineralization and to examine the nature of the host rocks. Assay results include 2.01%, 1.92% and 1.55% Co, reflecting high grades along a 200m strike length. High cobalt also occurs with high grade nickel values, up to 1.58%. Silver (5,527 g/t) and anomalous copper (up to 0.14%) were also reported in some samples. Assay results from selected samples are listed in Table 1 and a complete table of assays can be found at http://firstcobalt.com/projects/greater-cobalt-project/.
Hamilton is one of 50 mines that First Cobalt controls in the Cobalt Camp. Four shafts on the property occur along a 400-metre east-west vein system in the Hamilton mine area following discovery in 1908. The Hamilton shaft is 33 metres deep with mining along three levels up to 75m west of the shaft. Production was only recorded for 1938, listing 112 pounds of cobalt for every ounce of silver. The Hamilton area has not been active since 1956 due to the generally low silver content compared to other historic mines nearby in Cobalt North, such as Silverfields, Nipissing and Crown Reserve. In 2018, follow-up exploration at Hamilton, as well as other high grade cobalt targets in the Kerr Lake area, will consist of geochemical surveys as well as ground electromagnetic surveys and induced polarity and resistivity geophysical surveys to potentially map the extent of the vein system. Shallow drilling is also likely later in the year. The Hamilton mine area is an example of a high grade mineralized system that represents an opportunity to provide feed in the near future. Exploration for a broader mineralization system in the area may reveal longer term mining operations are substantiated. The assay results show that high nickel and high silver are locally present with cobalt. The general relationship of high cobalt-nickel and low silver is seen throughout the Cobalt Camp. Since silver was historically the mining focus these areas with high cobalt-nickel have been under-explored. Anomalous copper, zinc and lead are also present in some samples and show the diversity of metals present in the mineralizing system that may be by-products of future mining operation.
Cobalt mineralization largely occurs within calcite veins or in the wallrocks beside the veins. Host rocks to mineralization are Huronian Supergroup conglomerate. Volcanic rocks are not exposed in the immediate area, but samples taken from the muckpile are bleached in colour due to silica alteration similar to samples taken near cobalt-silver mineralization at Silver Banner in Cobalt North and the Keeley-Frontier area in Cobalt South."
Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY) has positioned automotive lithium-ion batteries as one of its key businesses, and its automotive batteries are used by many automakers worldwide. Panasonic's technological capabilities which achieve various requirements for such batteries are well regarded in the market. The company is making efforts to further enhance the safety and capacity of its automotive prismatic batteries, making use of its accumulated technological knowledge in the battery business. On December 13, 2017, the company and Toyota Motor Corporation announced an agreement to begin studying the feasibility of a joint automotive prismatic battery business. This agreement between the two companies aims to help find solutions to pressing societal issues such as global warming, air pollution, the depletion of natural resources and energy security. Furthermore, this agreement is intended to address growing demand and expectations for electrified vehicles. In order to realize these objectives, Toyota and Panasonic target further advancements in automotive batteries, which are crucial technologies in electrified vehicles.
Advantage Lithium Corp. (OTCQX: AVLIF) is a resource company specializing in the strategic acquisition, exploration and development of lithium properties and is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. Recently, the company provided update on the pumping tests conducted on wells CAU11 and CAU08 of the Cauchari JV property located in Jujuy Province, Argentina. The initial constant rate pumping test conducted on hole CAU11 sustained a flow rate of 19 l/s over a period of 48 hours (Figure 1), which is promising for future brine production. This flow rate was at the upper limit of the pump capacity used for the test. A total of 18 brine samples were taken during the pumping test, with the average concentration of 515 mg/l Lithium and 4,577 mg/l Potassium and a Mg/Li ratio of 2.6:1.
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% equity stake in the Freeport Cobalt Oy business, which includes a cobalt refinery located in Kokkola, Finland. The refinery, located on the Baltic Sea in Finland, processes unrefined cobalt and related metals and manufactures advanced inorganic products for use in a variety of applications in fast-growing end use markets. Freeport Cobalt is one of the world's largest suppliers of cobalt chemicals and powders for use in batteries, pigments and ceramics and powder metallurgy. On January 16, 2018, the company announced production results for the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017. Operations safety performance in 2017 remained excellent with a Total Recordable Injury Frequency rate of 0.60. This is consistent with the strong performance achieved in 2016, and the Company's best ever result.
Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTCQB: MLNLF) is an emerging exploration and development company focused on world class lithium assets in Argentina. Recently, the company announced the results of its Preliminary Economic Assessment for the production of lithium carbonate from its Pastos Grandes Project in the province of Salta, Argentina. The PEA was prepared by WorleyParsons Chile S.A., a leading integrated independent engineering services firm with extensive experience in the design and construction of lithium brine projects in Argentina and Chile. The strong lithium mineral resource delineated at the Pastos Grandes Project and the PEA results form the basis for mine development.
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