TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – TSX-listed multi-element project developer Fortune Minerals has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance (PwCCF) to help secure the C$589-million-plus working capital required to build its flagship Nico cobalt/gold/bismuth/copper project, in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
“As a new Canadian source of cobalt, Nico mitigates some concerns over geographic concentration of supply in politically unstable countries and ethical procurement of raw materials with supply chain transparency. With cobalt metal trading above $16/lb and trending higher toward longer-term averages, it is an opportune time to secure the project financing needed for construction,” Fortune president and CEO Robin Goad stated.
Fortune is developing its fully-owned project, comprising a mine and concentrator in the Northwest Territories and refinery, in Saskatchewan, with the aim of becoming a vertically integrated producer of cobalt chemicals for the fast-growing lithium-ion rechargeable battery industry, with gold and bismuth as co-products.
Despite cobalt being a critical metal used in a variety of metal and chemical applications, the cobalt market is driven by battery demand, which now accounts for about 50% of global cobalt demand. Cobalt is essential in the manufacture of most lithium-ion batteries, which typically contain between 9% and 60% cobalt by weight – depending on the application.
A recent report by market analyst Exane BNP Paribas forecasts cobalt demand to double to about 200 000 t by 2022, mainly on the back of growing demand from electric vehicle battery manufacturers.
Fortune believes that the recent announcement of federal government funding for a public road to the community of Whati, which is critical to establish mine operations, and the positive momentum in cobalt and gold markets, will allow the company to proceed with financing construction of the project.