First Cobalt (TSX-V: FCC) said on Thursday it began drilling at Iron Creek, its cobalt-copper project in Idaho, seeking to double production as higher demand for electric vehicles boosted prices for the metals used in the batteries.
North American EV sales reached 325,000 units in the first half of 2021, up 128% year-on-year from 142,000 units in the corresponding period last year.
Nearly 100% of electric vehicles sold in North America so far in 2021 were delivered with cobalt-bearing NCM and NCA lithium-ion batteries.
Iron Creek has an indicated 2.2 million tonne resource at 0.26% cobalt and 0.61% copper, for 12.3 million pounds of cobalt and 29Mlb of copper. It also has an inferred 2.7Mt at 0.22% cobalt and 0.68% copper for 12.7Mlb and 40Mlb respectively.
According to the company, a $3.1 million budget will include 4,000 metres of drilling to test extensions to the deposit.
The drill campaign follows meetings in Washington between executives from First Cobalt and senior elected officials, including the Idaho delegation to Congress.
Iron Creek is one of only two primary cobalt resource projects in the United States.
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The company’s previous drill campaign expanded the resource along strike to over 900m and down-dip extensions to over 600m.
First Cobalt plans to drill over 4,000 meters and expects to receive first results by the end of Q4 2021.
“Assuming drill results are as expected in 2021, we anticipate an even larger drill campaign in 2022, to fast-track our plans for domestic mine supply,” said CEO Trent Mell in a media statement.
Midday Thursday, First Cobalt’s stock was up 1.85% on the TSXV. The company has a $146 million market capitalization.