These are boom times in the Cobalt camp, but this is entirely new territory for Gino Chitaroni. “I’ve been in this business more than 30 years, I’ve never seen this before,” said the president of the Northern Prospectors Association.
The worldwide search for green-tech minerals, like cobalt, to feed the exploding electric vehicle and lithium battery market has put the historic silver mining district back in the spotlight for a largely discarded by-product metal.
“Eighteen months ago, if someone breathed the word cobalt, I would have thought they were on crack,” chuckles Chitaroni, a third-generation Cobalt-area miner and president of Polymet Labs in the town of Cobalt.
With intimate knowledge of the district, Chitaroni has quietly served as a pathfinder for incoming exploration companies and helping them stake the best prospective cobalt ground in the last year and a half.
“I’ve made more deals in the cobalt sector than I ever done in my lifetime,” said Chitaroni in reflecting on the last year where cobalt prices jumped from US $9 an ounce to $27 in early July. “Much richer deals compared to the gold and silver sector. That’s a product of the frenzy behind the massive search for cobalt.”
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