On 9 January 2019, mining player, First Cobalt Corp. (ASX: FCC) announced that the company had appointed Brown and Caldwell as its principal environmental and permitting consultant for the Iron Creek Project based in Idaho, USA. The consultants will reportedly provide the guidance on qualification along with developing an environmental baseline study strategy.
President and Chief Executive Officer of First Cobalt, Trent Mell stated that the company’s 2019 strategy is first to de-risk its two primary assets that are the First Cobalt Refinery in Ontario, Canada, and the Iron Creek Project in Idaho, USA.
With the engagement of work consultants, the company steps into the next phase of Iron Creek Development. These consultants are accredited with over 70 years of experience in environmental consulting, design, engineering and construction work across the USA and Canada.
In September 2018, First Cobalt revealed its maiden resource estimate for the Iron Creek Project. It included 26.9 million tonnes of Inferred Resource estimate with 0.11% cobalt equivalent grade. These results were based on pit constrained and deeper mineral resource deposits. On the side of an alternative underground-only scenario, the company discovered 4.4 million tonnes grading of 0.23% Cobalt and 0.68% Copper.
The company believes Brown and Caldwell would assist the company to determine the mineral processing and optimal mining design at Iron Creek on the back of maiden resource estimates. As per the today’s announcement, the services are said to be rendered from the consultant’s Boise, Idaho office, known for its extensive experience in environmental monitoring, project permitting, water management, and reclamation.
Mr. Mell further talked about the emerging cobalt market especially in the making of electric vehicles. Cobalt assets outside China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remain exceedingly rare, stated Mr. Mell. He added that at this date there is no primary cobalt refining or mining company in North America which outlines significant opportunity for First Cobalt. Moreover, its potential to produce ethical cobalt in secure jurisdiction sets it apart.
On the front of drilling work, the company informed that the work to extend the strike length of mineralized zones as well as of the known cobalt-copper zones had been continued till the end of 2018. Further, it is expected that updated mineral resource estimate for Iron Creek Project will be released by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
The management advised that the First Cobalt Refinery has put forward the option of early cash that could add the financial arm to the future work planned for Iron Creek. Moreover, the company stated that metallurgical test work of cobalt hydroxide, as well as other sources of third-party feed, is currently underway. The company is also in the process of exploring new non-equity financing options that could fund the recommission of the refinery that has been on repair and maintenance since 2015.
The shares of First Cobalt traded flat on 9 January 2019, ending the day’s session at $0.175 with a market capitalization of $74.29 million. Over the past 12 months, FCC has fallen by 87.68%.
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