Archive | Cobalt Town

Pandering to electric-vehicle owners contains blind spots – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – February 28, 2018)

Electric-vehicle sales more than doubled in Ontario in 2017 as rebates worth up to $14,000 per car propelled the province past Quebec to become Canada’s EV leader. Many electric-car fans celebrated this as proof that Ontario’s latest incentives to encourage EV sales are working.

Working for them, maybe. But what about for taxpayers and the planet? We already know that government rebates on EV purchases are a horrendously expensive way to reduce carbon. Encouraging consumers to move to smaller gasoline-powered cars by increasing sales taxes on fossil fuels would do so much more to cut emissions.

What’s more, it is now becoming clear that mining the massive amounts of cobalt and lithium needed to manufacture the bigger batteries required to increase EV range and reliability risks creating a slew of unintended social, economic and environmental consequences. Continue Reading →

Agnico Eagle Is Reviewing Cobalt Assets After Receiving Interest – by Danielle Bochove and Susanne Barton (Bloomberg News – February 26, 2018)

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. is dusting off cobalt assets in Ontario for potential sale as a global search for the rechargeable-battery ingredient expands amid surging demand.

The gold producer is doing an analysis of its Canadian cobalt holdings after receiving five or six inquiries, Chief Executive Officer Sean Boyd said Monday in a Bloomberg TV interview at the annual BMO mining conference in Florida.

The move comes at a time when manufacturers are seeking to secure cobalt on behalf of battery makers as demand heats up from the electric-vehicle and mobile-phone industries. Continue Reading →

Betting on DRC’s mineral boom – by Gregory Mthembu-Salter (The Africa Report – January 30, 2018)

Kinshasa – Mineral commodity prices are ticking up once more, and the cash-strapped Congolese government is increasingly betting on rising mining revenues to come to its fiscal rescue. Because of the budget deficit and a shortage of foreign exchange, the central bank has been putting pressure on mining companies to repatriate 40% of their export earnings pursuant to a 2007 government decision.

That, and a proposed reform to the mining code, have caused tensions between the Kinshasa government and the country’s mining companies. On the production and price fronts, things are looking up now. Copper prices currently hover around $7,000/tn, sharply up from $4,500 just a year ago. And, improving matters further, the country’s recorded copper exports were 15% higher during the first half of 2017 than during the same period of 2016.

The cobalt price is rising too, buoyed by recent announcements by governments around the world, including the UK and China, of their plans to switch from petrol and diesel vehicles to electric cars. The London Metal Exchange cobalt price was $27/lb in October 2017, up from $13/lb a year earlier. Continue Reading →

Laurentian University researchers put Cobalt camp under the microscope – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – January 25, 2018)

First Cobalt Mining conducting in-depth study of historic silver district

First Cobalt Mining, the biggest exploration player in the Cobalt camp, is bringing a Laurentian University researcher into the fold to better understand the geology of its properties in northeastern Ontario.

The Toronto company announced it’s embarking on a dedicated research partnership program with the university’s Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) by sponsoring a post-doctoral position to carry out the first detailed study of major structural features in the 110-year-old history of the camp.

“We’re looking at it from a new set of eyes as researchers,” said Ross Sherlock, who oversees MERC’s Metal Earth project. “It’s an unusual geological assemblage.” MERC is the geoscience arm attached to Laurentian’s Harquail School of Earth Sciences, under the umbrella of the Goodman School of Mines. Continue Reading →

Second life for historic Cobalt silver camp – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – January 18, 2018)

Historic mining area near Ontario/Quebec border garnering attention for cobalt resources

The land around the town of Cobalt, despite the name, was once one of the richest silver finds in the nation. Decades after that boom ceased, another one is on the horizon, this time for the town’s namesake.

As demand for electric vehicles grows across the world, one company is taking a second look at the cobalt resources that were once thrown away.

First Cobalt Corp. gave a Jan. 16 presentation in Sudbury on their latest findings and plans to drill on several properties they purchased near Cobalt, many of them historical silver mine sites, to determine the scope and quality of the cobalt resources. Continue Reading →

Column: Why cobalt will struggle to free itself from the DRC – by Andy Home (Reuters – January 15, 2018)

LONDON (Reuters) – The cobalt market will record a supply surplus both this year and next, according to heavyweight commodities research house CRU. This might seem a little surprising, given all the bullish hype surrounding a metal that more than doubled in price last year.

CRU itself has drastically revised its original assessment of a sustained supply shortfall due to strong demand growth from the battery sector. What has changed its mind?

In short, it’s the return of the Katanga mine after two years of suspended activities. Once fully operational, Katanga will be the “largest cobalt-producing mining project in the world”. (CRU Insight, Jan. 4 2018) Continue Reading →

Cobalt: A Metal Poised to Peak (Startfor Worldview – January 8, 2018)

At Stratfor, we use geopolitics to understand the constraints and advantages that geography confers on a country and the political, technological and economic decisions it compels.

As the demand for electric vehicles increases over the coming decades, so, too, will the demand — and the price — for the raw materials required to produce them. Increased demand for elements such as lithium and cobalt will lead to potential supply bottlenecks over the next several years.

And while the media has touted the potential of lithium — the eponymous component of lithium-ion batteries — to be the raw material that powers the gradual transition away from fossil fuel-reliant transportation, it has understated the significance of one element in the equation: cobalt. Lithium-ion batteries require lithium, yes, but they also require something else. Under the constraints of present technology, that something is, more often than not, cobalt. Continue Reading →

Miners Wager on a Charge in Demand for Canadian Cobalt – by David George-Cosh (Fox Business – January 1, 2018)

Dow Jones Newswires: TORONTO – A handful of Canadian miners are ramping up operations to mine cobalt, betting on demand for a socially responsible source of the metal that is in high demand as a key component of electric cars.

Most cobalt currently comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where supply is threatened by political, legal and labor issues. That means car makers and battery suppliers are increasingly looking elsewhere for the mineral.

Miners in Canada such as Vale SA, which has a cobalt-producing mine in Sudbury, Ontario, Sherritt International Corp., and smaller firms such as Royal Nickel Corp., First Cobalt Corp. and Fortune Minerals Ltd. are raising funds and engaging in exploratory drilling. Continue Reading →

Ontario Northland: Through timber to tidewater – by John Thompson (Railway Age – December 28, 2017)

Some Railway Age readers will be surprised to learn that GO Transit, launched in 1967, was not the first venture of the Province of Ontario into the railway business; that event actually occurred some 60 years earlier. The honor actually belongs to the provincially owned Ontario Northland Railway, which links the city of North Bay, on Lake Nipissing, to Moosonee, on the salt waters of James Bay.

At that time, and until recent years, North Bay was on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) transcontinental (Montreal-Vancouver) main line. During the past decade, the trackage between a point just east of North Bay, to Smiths Falls (60 miles west of Montreal) was abandoned.

The territories served by the two provincial railways could hardly be more different: GO Transit is based in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, and carries commuters in business attire through an area of subdivisions, apartment towers, industries and fertile farmland. Continue Reading →

Can the electric car industry bring this ghost town back to life? – by Sidney Stevens (Mother Nature Network – December 31, 2017)

Like so many mining towns throughout North America, Cobalt, Ontario has seen better days. The silver rush that transformed the modest community, located 300 miles north of Toronto, into a vibrant boomtown during the early 1900s has long since died away.

Today, the sleepy hamlet — some call it a ghost town — still bears scars from those heady, get-rich-quick days. The borough, built atop a honeycomb of abandoned mining tunnels, is not only littered with waste rock and capped mine shafts but also plagued by poverty.

But its fortunes could soon reverse. Cobalt, population 1,100, is poised to flourish once more due to its rich stores of the metal cobalt. Ironically, the town known for its silver was actually named for this shiny, bluish-gray ore. At the time it was mostly ignored. But not anymore. Continue Reading →

The 1903 Cobalt Silver Boom and its Extraordinary Economic Impact on Toronto and Ontario – by Douglas Baldwin (December 2017)

Douglas Baldwin is a retired history professor from Acadia University, Nova Scotia. This piece has been adapted from his new book, Cobalt: Canada’s Forgotten Silver Boom Town.

To order the book, click here:

Speaking to the Empire Cub in Toronto in 1909, Rev. Canon Tucker told the story of a widely-travelled American who was asked where Toronto was. He thought for a moment, scratched his head and said, “Oh, yes, that is the place where you change cars for Cobalt.”

Although the value of the silver discovered in Cobalt far surpassed the riches uncovered during the Klondike rush only two decades earlier, few people today know of Cobalt’s history, or even of its existence.

Concentrated in an area less than thirteen square kilometres, about 400 kilometres north-east of Toronto near the Quebec border, Cobalt mines became the fourth-largest silver producer ever discovered.

When production peaked in 1911, Cobalt was providing roughly one-eighth of the world’s silver. During the First World War, the British government considered Canada’s silver supply so important to the war effort that it convinced Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden to use his influence to prevent a planned strike in the Cobalt mining camp. Continue Reading →

Small Canadian miners in pole position for electric vehicle battery boon – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – December 11, 2017)

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Canadian developers of cobalt and lithium mines stand to benefit from a round of investments from the makers of electric vehicles and the batteries powering them, a potential game-changer for small miners short on money to develop deposits of these critical battery ingredients.

Toronto-listed cobalt companies, Ecobalt Solutions and Fortune Minerals, are in talks, ranging from preliminary to more advanced, with more than a dozen groups, including car and battery makers, on financing their projects, their chief executives told Reuters.

The interest in miners from downstream players along the battery supply chain – a new area of investment for most – would provide a life-line to miners at time when equity funding for developers remains relatively tight after a five-year downturn on weak metals prices. Continue Reading →

‘Cobalt for cobalt’s sake’: Electric vehicle boom changing the equation for a mining byproduct – by Geoff Zochodne (Financial Post – November 30, 2017)

Investors have renewed their interest in an historic Canadian cobalt play amid a recent boom brought on by the adoption of electric vehicles.

Toronto-based First Cobalt Corp. has seen its stock price double in value since announcing last week that it had received shareholder backing for a three-way merger with fellow juniors Cobaltech Mining Inc. and Cobalt One Ltd. The deal includes past-producing mines near Cobalt, Ont., a town named after the metal and located approximately 500 kilometres north of Toronto.

With its acquisitions expected to close in the coming week or so, First Cobalt says it now controls 45 per cent of the land in the so-called “Cobalt Camp,” in addition to owning the only permitted cobalt refinery on the continent that can produce battery-grade materials. While the camp is still in its exploratory stage, shares of First Cobalt are up nearly 280 per cent for the year, closing at $1.47 Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Apple, Google and other phone companies ranked for connections to wars and human rights abuses – by Andrew Griffin (The Independent – November 19, 2017)

Many of the materials needed to make new electronics has unknown connections to the rest of the world

The phones in your pocket and the laptops on your desk might include materials linked to a range of horrific abuses, according to two major new reports.

Materials like gold and cobalt power the batteries and other components required to keep the world running. But they might also be endangering the world, by funding groups that undermine safety and protections in companies like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The two reports show that products from a range of companies are made with materials that could be directly funding conflict in some of the most vulnerable places in the world. Continue Reading →

The Canadian Ghost Town That Tesla Is Bringing Back to Life – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – October 31, 2017)

Renewed demand for cobalt, the metal, is breathing new life into Cobalt, the town.

Ironically, Cobalt, Ontario—population 1,100—was built on silver. Remnants of a boom that transformed the town more than a century ago are everywhere. A mine headframe still protrudes from the roof of the bookstore, which was previously a grocery.

The butcher used to toss unwanted bones down an abandoned 350-foot shaft in the middle of the shop floor and keep meat cool in its lowered mine cage.

While the last silver mines closed almost 30 years ago, a global push for the village’s namesake metal is promising to breathe new life into the sleepy town 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of Toronto. Continue Reading →