Cobalt explorer makes a move in historic camp: First Cobalt kicks off exploration program with promise of richer days ahead – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 28, 2017)

Walking into a mining ghost town like Silver Centre is almost akin to experiencing what the first miners of the Cobalt camp’s famed Silver Rush faced at the turn of the last century.

But the focus this time is not on finding high-grade silver veins but exploring for cobalt, previously discarded as a waste material. For exploration crews, it’s like starting from scratch. “I grew up in Northern Ontario and crawled around mine sites all the time,” said Frank Santaguida, vice-president of exploration for First Cobalt Corp. “It’s surprising how quickly the land reclaims itself.”

His Toronto-based company has an option agreement with Canadian Silver Hunter to acquire 100 per cent of the former Keeley-Frontier silver and cobalt mine, a sprawling 2,100-hectare property, 25 kilometres south of the town of Cobalt.

“A few months ago when I joined (First Cobalt), I kept hearing about this ghost town…and I get there and there’s not a lot to see. It’s kind of reverted back to 100 years ago.” The historic northeastern Ontario mining district is being examined by junior miners and investors with a new lens.

Cobalt was usually found mixed in with silver, copper, nickel and other ores. In northeastern Ontario, it had some use to make alloys used in steelmaking. Largely, it was left uncovered for decades in surface stockpiles of waste material.

Today, cobalt is a much sought-after key ingredient in driving the electric vehicle and lithium battery market.

With not enough supply to fill the forecasted global demand over the next five years, and cobalt prices more than doubled to north of US $27 within the last year, it’s spurred new specialty players like First Cobalt (formerly Aurgent Resource Corp.) to re-examine old camps like Cobalt, Ontario.

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