Electra Battery Materials (NASDAQ: ELBM; TSXV: ELBM) has provided an updated mineral resource estimate for its Iron Creek cobalt-copper project in Idaho, paving the way for additional exploration activities and development of a preliminary economic assessment.
Resources in the indicated category are estimated at 4.4 million tonnes grading 0.19% cobalt and 0.73% copper for 18.4 million lb. of cobalt and 71.5 million lb. of copper. The inferred resource category shows 1.2 million tonnes grading 0.08% cobalt and 1.34% copper for 2.1 million lb. of cobalt and 36.5 million lb. of copper.
Incorporating results of infill and step-out drilling completed over the past five years, Electra has now upgraded 54% of the inferred category from its last resource estimate in 2019 into the indicated category.
The Iron Creek project is a 23 km2 land package that comprises a combination of private mining patents and lode claims within the Idaho Cobalt Belt, a 55-kilometre-long formation containing some of the largest primary cobalt deposits in North America.
According to the US Geological Survey, the Idaho Cobalt Belt is home to largest primary cobalt resource in the country, including the former producing Blackbird mine that was in operation from 1902 to 1968. Multiple additional occurrences of cobalt occur throughout the Belt, which have seen overall limited exploration.
Within the Iron Creek project boundary, there are seven document occurrences of metallic mineralization exposed at surface or encountered by drilling. Iron Creek is main mineralized body and Ruby is the second most important occurrence, the company said.
Electra believes additional drilling is recommended to connect isolated intercepts on the east and at depth with the resource area, and to advance the Ruby target to increase the inferred mineral resource.
Over the next two years, Electra said it plans to increase the size of the resource at Iron Creek, advance the asset toward a development decision and drill test additional targets outside of the current resource area, which currently covers 1,652 metres of strike length.
“Continued exploration and development of the Idaho Cobalt Belt will help to reduce North America’s reliance on foreign sources of cobalt supply particularly as demand for critical minerals will grows exponentially in the coming years,” Electra CEO Trent Mell said in a news release.