Chilean Cobalt gets $317 million funding support from EXIM Bank

View of the La Cobaltera cobalt-copper project in Chile. Credit: Chilean Cobalt

US-based critical minerals explorer Chilean Cobalt (OTCQB: COBA) is the recipient of a letter of interest for a potential debt funding package of up to $317.4 million from the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

This debt funding is part of EXIM Bank’s China and Transformational Export Program (CTEP), an initiative designed to help American companies facing competition from China in sectors including renewable energy.

The loan, with a tenor of up to 15 years, is expected to fund development efforts within the mining concessions that comprise the La Cobaltera cobalt-copper project in northern Chile, as well as other concessions within this region that the company may acquire.

Chilean Cobalt — referred to as “C3” — currently owns 26.35 square kilometres of 100% owned mining concessions within the San Juan district, which is home to numerous past-producing mines and is recognized by the Chilean government as one of the country’s premier cobalt exploration targets.

La Cobaltera was the largest production area in the district, with mining activity dating back to the mid-1800s until 1944. Cobalt grades between 1% and over 15% were mined from open pit and underground during that time.

According to Duncan Blount, C3’s chairman, La Cobaltera is one of the “only few primary cobalt deposits known globally.” The project includes cobalt-copper oxide and sulphide resources with evidence of gold at depth across several known exploration and development targets district-wide.

“With the district-scale potential that this project holds, we are focused on restarting and expanding these past-producing mines while exploring for additional resources,” Blount said.

Development of the project will take two phases. Phase 1 will focus on near-term production potential from the resources with little to no overburden, taking advantage of the district’s historical open pit development. Phase 2 will focus on the deeper sulphide mineralization, which contains copper and cobalt, with evidence of gold.

The potential support from EXIM Bank would provide funding for substantially all the anticipated construction and development capital required for Phase 1 of the project, focused on the deposit’s cobalt-copper oxide zones, the company said.

Based on certain early drawdown conditions, this funding may be available to fund a definitive feasibility study, C3 added.