First Cobalt has appointed consultants Brown and Caldwell to provide guidance on permitting and to develop an environmental baseline study strategy for its Iron Creek project, in Idaho.
“On the heels of the maiden resource estimate announced in the fall, this is one of a series of technical programmes initiated to help us determine the optimal mining and mineral processing design at Iron Creek.
“Baseline environmental data is critical to advancing the timeline toward production as we work towards developing an environmentally responsible source of cobalt in North America,” First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell commented in a statement on Tuesday.
Mell added that the First Cobalt refinery offers the opportunity for early cash that could finance future work at Iron Creek.
Metallurgical tests of cobalt hydroxide and other sources of third-party feed are ongoing, with Mell saying early indications were “encouraging”.
In parallel with these tests, the company is actively exploring sources of non-equity capital to finance the recommissioning of the refinery, which has been on care and maintenance since 2015.
“Cobalt is essential for the growing electric vehicle market and cobalt assets outside China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain exceedingly rare. There is no primary cobalt mining or refining in North America today and the potential for First Cobalt to produce ethical cobalt in a safe jurisdiction allows us to stand apart.”
Brown and Caldwell will be providing permitting guidance and overseeing the collection of environmental baseline data at the Iron Creek project.
Water quality data collection began in 2017 and is ongoing.
An updated mineral resource estimate is expected to be completed towards the end of the first quarter of this year.
The environmental baseline data, the updated mineral resource estimate and other technical studies will be incorporated into a preliminary economic assessment planned for the latter half of this year.