The namesake metal of the town of Cobalt is the focus of a Vancouver company which has acquired a former silver mine property near the historic northeastern Ontario community. CobalTech Mining, formerly known as Big North Graphite, closed the acquisition of the former Duncan Kerr property from Trio Resources of Toronto on Nov. 23.
The company has plans to dig into the leftover piles of mineralized material on the surface to source cobalt.
Their 32-hectare property, located three kilometres southeast of the town in Coleman Township, contains the underground remnants of the former Kerr and Lawson silver mines, which operated intermittently from the mid-1900s through to the 1960s.
During that span, the two mines collectively produced more than 32.7 million ounces (1,060 tons) of silver. But cobalt is being identified in the company’s reports as a “significant byproduct.”
Cobalt is rapidly gaining international attention as an essential – if often ignored and overlooked – critical metal used in the production of high energy lithium-ion batteries, prized by electric car automakers and manufacturers of mobile phones and digital devices.
A 2014 Golder Associates study prepared for Trio calculated 6,588 dry tonnes of crushed material resources contained in three stockpiles with an average grade of 761 grams per tonne of silver and 0.95 per cent cobalt. In addition, there’s 1.3 million tonnes of mineralized material in the tailings spread around the large property.
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