Leading Edge Materials Corp (CVE:LEM) has staked its second cobalt-copper project, Kontio, located in northeastern Finland, approximately 50 kilometres northwest of the town of Kuusamo, the company said on Monday.
The project is secured by Leading Edge Material’s 30,800-hectare Kontio-Sarvivaara reservation, which is valid until September, 2018.
The Kontio project lies within the Kuusamo schist belt, host to numerous significant deposits in eastern Finland. The Kuusamo schist belt comprises various meta-sedimentary sequences with regular mafic and felsic intrusive and regional-scale albite alteration.
Eleven cobalt-copper deposits or occurrences were discovered in the vicinity of the Kontio project during the 1970s and 1980s, following which time no significant exploration work has been documented. The company’s Kontio-Sarvivaara claim reservation secures four of these occurrences, along strike potential of the Haarakumpu cobalt-copper deposit, plus numerous untested geophysical anomalies.
Haarakumpu is the most significant deposit in the region, which was discovered by the Lapin Malmi exploration coalition in 1982 using electromagnetics (EM). The strong EM and magnetic anomaly was tested with 23 holes, defining an inferred resource of 2.6 million tonnes at 0.25% cobalt and 0.46 per cent copper in a dipping sheet approximately six metres thick (H. Vartiainen, 1984; Rautaruukki Oy internal report). The stratigraphic position of the Haarakumpu deposit trends onto the Leading Edge Materials reservation.
In the north of the reservation area lies the Pattasoja prospect, which was first located in 1971 by the Rautaruukki Company which discovered copper to 0.9% in boulders. Ground geophysics, boulder sampling, till sampling and mapping was followed by nine diamond drill holes which discovered a greater-than-one-kilometre-long cobalt-bearing pyrite mineralized zone. Seven drill holes intersected cobalt mineralization greater than 0.1%, peaking at 1.1 per cent Co over thin intervals. Pattasoja presents a high-priority target for immediate follow-up, with cobalt-in-till anomalies extending well beyond the drilled area.
The Ristisuo prospect lies centrally within the reservation area, where Lapin Malmi discovered copper-cobalt-bearing boulders that were subsequently followed up by various geophysical methods and three drill holes. Low-grade mineralization was encountered, but the source of the mineralized boulders was not intersected.
The Maaninkajoki prospect is defined by a strong EM resulting from pyrite alteration. Exploration by both Lapin Malmi and Rautaruukki located cobalt-rich pyrite-bearing boulders up to 0.44% Co, the source of which was not identified.
Exploration at the Maitokoski prospect was limited; however, a greater-than-250-metre-long EM conductor was defined beneath thin soil cover. No further exploration was completed to test the bedrock source.
“This new and large reservation is one of the best cobalt exploration areas in the Nordic region, with numerous indications of high-grade cobalt. The area is unexplored since the 1980s, when activity was focused on copper rather than cobalt, demonstrating that the best cobalt grades do not correspond with highest copper grades. Modern geophysical methods provide an excellent opportunity to quickly develop high-priority targets,” said Blair Way, president and chief executive officer.
“The Kontio project provides Leading Edge Materials with an additional high-priority battery materials project in a mining supportive country. We continue to pursue and explore high-quality critical materials projects.”
Cobalt plays an essential role in lithium-ion batteries for the automotive, consumer product and stationary electrify storage industries. Annual consumption of cobalt is forecast to double to 200,000 tonnes over the next five years due to the accelerated uptake of lithium-ion batteries for the storage of low carbon energy.
Approximately 50% of cobalt is presently sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with an extremely high and unsustainable social impact. Europe is investing heavily in lithium-ion battery technologies and is seeking sustainable sources of the cobalt, lithium and high-purity graphite upon which these batteries rely.
Story by ProactiveInvestors