VANCOUVER, March 3, 2017 /CNW/ - eCobalt Solutions Inc. (TSX:ECS) (the "Company" or "eCobalt") is providing its shareholders an update on its wholly owned Idaho Cobalt Project (the "ICP"), the only near term, environmentally permitted, primary cobalt project located in the United States.
Over the last several months, significant progress has been made on the ICP as the Company moves closer to completing a NI 43-101 compliant Feasibility Study (the "Feasibility Study"). The ICP is comprised of the Mine and Mill located in Salmon, Idaho and the Cobalt Production Facility (the "CPF") located on a rail head in southern Idaho. Based on the January 5, 2017 revised Preliminary Economic Assessment report, the CAPEX required to develop the project is US$147 million, resulting in an post-tax NPV of US$113 million (discounted at 8.5%) and a post-tax IRR of 24%, using base case price of $19.50 per pound cobalt sulfate.
Recently, the price of cobalt metal reached a six year high to over US$22.00 per pound (LME - 99.3% cobalt metal). This signifies a strong near and long term demand for cobalt driven primarily by the lithium ion battery market. These positive market developments are timely as the Company moves the ICP into development and production to supply cobalt sulfate to the rechargeable battery market. Cobalt sulfate is a precursor material used in the cathode of NCA (nickel cobalt aluminum) and NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) batteries. These new generation lithium ion batteries are forecasted to have the highest long term growth due to their superior energy density, life cycle and safety performance.
eCobalt reports that a number of key milestones have been achieved for the Mine and Mill, most notably:
- Feasibility Study Timeline: June 2016, eCobalt commissioned the Feasibility Study with Micon International Limited ("Micon") and SNC-Lavalin ("SNC") with initial results and final report due in Q1 & Q2 2017 respectively;
- Underground Mine Model: Wireframe model, stope outlines, and draft mine design are complete;
- Resource Model: Resource Model and Mine Schedule are nearing completion;
- Met Drill Program: A 2,600 foot large diameter core metallurgical drill program was successfully completed on the Ram Deposit;
- Metallurgical: The mineralized core from the met drill program is being used in a metallurgical test program to provide additional data on concentrate recoveries, hydrometallurgical processing and cobalt sulfate crystal production. The production of these cobalt sulfate crystals will be used for additional testing and for due diligence purposes by potential offtake clients
- Engineering: Mill and concentrator design work is 95% complete.
A number of key milestones have also been achieved for the CPF, most notably:
- Site Location: A site in Southern Idaho for the CPF has been secured under an option agreement and site geotechnical drilling has been initiated and will be used in the final building design and costing;
- Building and Utilities: The CPF building layout has been optimized to facilitate both material movement and functionality. Idaho Power Company will be completing a power study to identify electrical infrastructure requirements;
- Engineering: CPF mechanical equipment lists are 80% complete, electrical single lines and electrical equipment list are 70% complete, control system/philosophy has been created, and P&IDs are 70% complete.
Feasibility Study engineers have reported that there are no further foreseeable challenges for the engineering efforts at this time.
A marketing study commissioned with CRU Group was completed to provide third party market analysis required for the Feasibility Study and to support project financing decisions. An important mandate for this study was to determine how the ICP's cobalt sulfate grade compares with other global producers. Cobalt sulfate used as battery grade materials are required to be high purity with the lowest levels of a wide range of elements including alkali metals, heavy metals, and elements that form acids such as sulfur, chlorine and phosphorus. It was determined that specifications of the cobalt sulfate produced from ICP ore qualify for the latest generation of NMC and NCA batteries. These specifications were produced from the metallurgical test program that was completed by the Company in March 2016 (March 3, 2016 news release). These results validate the Company's progress to date and further facilitate potential offtake partnerships. The results of the full marketing study will be included in the final Feasibility Study.
The Company recently closed a C$17.25 million bought deal led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. The proceeds from the financing will be used to advance the ICP. In the near term, the Company will be expanding its technical team, aggressively pursuing project financing options, beginning groundwork on the CPF site and undertake other opportunities to increase value for our shareholders.
"Additional interest in the project from potential offtake clients and senior debt lenders have been increasing as the Feasibility Study progresses towards completion," commented Paul Farquharson, President & CEO of eCobalt. He continued, "The strong forecasted near and long term demand for cobalt is driven primarily by the rechargeable battery and EV markets - this demand was not there in the past. In addition, the majority of cobalt is being mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a by-product of copper mining operations, and from nickel mining operations elsewhere. The ICP a very unique project for manufacturers who are seeking a fully integrated cobalt sulfate product produced safely and responsibly in an environmentally conscious manner in the United States."
E.R. (Rick) Honsinger, P.Geo., Senior Vice President of the Company, is the Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 who has supervised the preparation of this news release and has approved its contents.
About eCobalt Solutions Inc.
eCobalt Solutions is a well-established Toronto Stock Exchange listed company committed to providing ethically produced and environmentally sound battery grade cobalt salts, essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors, made safely, responsibly and transparently in the United States.
eCobalt Solutions Inc.
"J. Paul Farquharson"
J. Paul Farquharson
President & CEO
Cautionary Statement on Forward Looking Statements
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. Statements in this news release pertaining to expected financings or project completion dates are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and address future events and conditions and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such projections are and will inevitably always be dependent on assumptions about future mineral prices and development costs which will be subject to fluctuation due to global and local economic and industry conditions. Further information regarding risks and uncertainties which may cause results to differ from those contained in forward-looking statements is included in filings by the Company with securities regulatory authorities and is available at www.sedar.com. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Although the Company has disclosed that the Idaho Cobalt Project remains the sole, near term, environmentally permitted, primary cobalt deposit in the United States and offers a unique potential for North American consumers to secure an ethically sourced, environmentally sound supply of battery grade cobalt chemicals, there is no guarantee that the Company will attain commercial production of such cobalt chemicals for use in the rechargeable battery sector. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements that are contained herein, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
The statements contained in this news release in regard to eCobalt Solutions Inc. that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including eCobalt Inc.'s beliefs, expectations, hopes or intentions regarding the future. All forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and are based on information available to eCobalt Solutions Inc. as of such date. It is important to note that actual outcome and the actual results could differ from those in such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include risks and uncertainties such as technological, legislative, corporate, commodity price and marketplace changes.
SOURCE eCobalt Solutions Inc.
For further information: eCobalt Solutions Inc., 1810 - 999 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V6C 2W2, Tel: 604-682-6229, Email: [email protected], Web: ecobalt.com