First Cobalt Corp (CVE:FCC) (OTCQX:FTSSF) (FRA:18P) announced that it has been awarded funding from the US Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute (CMI) to research innovative mineral processing techniques for its Iron Creek copper-cobalt project in Idaho.
The funding will go towards an interdisciplinary, collaborative research effort conducted in conjunction with the Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy (KIEM) at the Colorado School of Mines over a two-year period, the company said, with the objective of identifying more efficient and environmentally friendly methods to process cobalt ore from pyrite material.
First Cobalt will receive US$600,000 from CMI, plus an in-kind match from the company itself, for a total US$1.2 million program. Ultimately, the company said the research effort is a step in its strategic plan to become the world’s most sustainable producer of battery materials.
READ: First Cobalt lays out path to ‘become the most sustainable producer of cobalt in the world’ in 2020 year in review
“Our vision in Idaho is to build a modern underground mining operation and mineral processing facility centered on the Iron Creek cobalt-copper deposit.” CEO Trent Mell said in a statement. “We can take advantage of new and emerging technologies that reduce waste material coming out of the mine and reduce the amount of energy required to process the ore. To have the support of the United States Government to further a national strategy of developing a domestic supply of cobalt further reinforces the First Cobalt value proposition as North America’s only integrated supplier of battery materials for the electric vehicle industry.”
First Cobalt personnel will guide the work at the project based on preliminary mineralogical and metallurgical tests that were previously completed. The project is being led by KIEM Professors Corby Anderson and Erik Spiller, currently supervising a team of four graduate and undergraduate students, the company said.
More than 200 kilograms of drill core material has been shipped to the Colorado School of Mines, which will work to further characterize the physical properties of cobalt ore to determine the range of methods that are effective for processing. An underground bulk sample of more than 2000kg will be shipped during the summer to test ore sorting methods that potentially separate cobalt and copper ore from waste host rocks.
Results from the optimized methods will be compared to a conventional processing system First Cobalt has demonstrated to be effective for cobalt recovery, the company said. The improved process could reduce costs, energy consumption and generated waste material, thereby minimizing the environmental impact of mining and mineral processing.
Iron Creek is a high grade underground primary cobalt deposit with an indicated resource of 2.2 million tonnes at 0.32% cobalt equivalent (0.26% cobalt and 0.61% copper) for 12.3 million pounds of contained cobalt and an inferred resource of 2.7 million tonnes at 0.28% cobalt equivalent (0.22% cobalt and 0.68% copper) for an additional 12.7 million pounds of contained cobalt. The resource estimate used a 0.18% cobalt equivalent cut-off grade.
Drilling has outlined the strike extent of mineralization to over 900 metres (m) and down-dip to over 650m, the company said. Mineralization remains open along strike and down-dip, suggesting strong potential for significant future resource growth. Thick mineralized zones of up to 30m of true thickness reflect broad stratabound lithological controls.
Contact Andrew Kessel at [email protected] him on Twitter @andrew_kessel
Story by ProactiveInvestors
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