eCobalt’s primary asset, the Idaho Cobalt Project ("ICP"),
remains the only advanced stage, near-term, environmentally
permitted primary cobalt deposit in the United States. With initial production
expected in 2019, the ICP will ethically produce environmentally sound cobalt
products, made safely, responsibly and transparently in the United States.
ICP is 100% owned by the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary Formation Capital Corporation. The project is comprised of the Mine/Mill (M/M) site located in Lemhi County, Idaho,
near the town of Salmon, Idaho and the Cobalt Production Facility, a stand-alone processing facility to be located in Southern Idaho near the city
of Blackfoot. According to the Feasibility Study dated September 27, 2017, the
project is slated to produce1,500 tons of cobalt metal equivalent annually over
a projected mine life of 12.5 years.
ICP is fully environmentally permitted having completed an Environmental Impact
Statement and has received a positive Record of Decision on its Mine
Plan of Operations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Forest
Service and a water discharge NPDES (National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit from the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. Initial construction of the project began in 2011, before
the project was placed on Care and Maintenance in 2013 due to market
conditions. In 2017 the Company recommenced pre-construction activities, and to
date approximately 90% of the earthworks have been completed at the mine site.
total of $120M has been spent on the project to date. Approximately $16M worth
of long lead time equipment was previously purchased and is stored in warehouse
and staging areas outside of the town of Salmon, ready for transportation to
the mill site. This equipment represents all major components of the mill and
concentrator, and includes the ball mill, flotation cells, hoppers, grizzlies,
July 2014 financial markets had improved significantly and it became apparent
that cobalt sulfate, used in lithium-ion batteries, was going to significantly
outperform the market for cobalt used in super-alloys. Rechargeable batteries
represent 49% of cobalt consumption (in the form of sulfate) and the market is
growing at a compounded annual rate of 11.7%. As a result eCobalt announced a
change of direction aimed at taking advantage of the rapidly expanding electric
vehicle, grid storage, and renewable energy sectors. The Company completed a Feasibility Study (“FS”) in September
2017 detailing the production of a cobalt sulphate product.
response to changes in battery supply chain dynamics since the completion of
the FS report, eCobalt has determined there are economic advantages to produce
a clean (low arsenic content) cobalt concentrate product, an upstream precursor
material for battery cathode production. This new direction has the potential
to greatly reduce the capital requirements for the project without altering the
project's initial timeline.
scale testing in 2017 demonstrated successful arsenic removal from ICP ore
concentrates by conventional roasting methods. These successful results support
the Company’s new direction to produce a clean cobalt concentrate desirable to
potential off-take partners. eCobalt is currently completing a new, optimized
Feasibility Study, which is expected to be complete in Q2 2018. Concurrently,
discussions are ongoing with potential off-take partners as well as pilot
testing of ICP ore to provide additional engineering confidence in the ICP’s
ability to produce a clean, high value cobalt concentrate.