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Data Projects That Burgeoning EV Dependency Will Bolster the Cobalt Market

NEW YORK, June 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

According to a report by Reuters, citing data compiled by Stratistics Market Research, the Global Cobalt Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.3% from 2017 to 2026. Furthermore, the market is expected to be driven by the demand for lithium-ion batteries as well as a variety of other applications such as cobalt alloys for airplane engines. Lithium-ion batteries are made from of various resources consisting of cobalt elements. The batteries are widely used in rechargeable consumer electronic products, however with the rising demand for electric vehicles, the cobalt market is projected to see significant growth. Vatic Ventures Corp (OTC: VTTCF), Trilogy Metals Inc. (NYSE: TMQ), PolyMet Mining Corp. (NYSE: PLM), Clean TeQ Holdings Ltd, Melbourne (OTC: CTEQF), QMC Quantum Minerals Corp. (OTC: QMCQF),

Many countries are beginning to transition to more electric vehicles in order to combat environmental issues. This has prompted almost every auto manufacturer to begin production, or invest in development, of EVs. Cobalt prices have surged in the past few years after demand began to grow stronger. The sudden increase in price is due the scarcity of the resource itself, making it costly for manufacturers. "The best lithium battery cathodes [negative electrodes] all contain cobalt, and its production is limited," says Study Lead, Elsa Olivetti, according to Scientific American. Elsa is a materials scientist and engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Vatic Ventures Corp (OTC: VTTCF) also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker, (TSX-V: VCV). Just earlier today, the company announced breaking news that, "it has signed a memorandum of understanding (the "MOU") with Falcon Gold Corp. ("Falcon") for the Wabunk Bay cobalt claims (the "Property") adjoining Uchi mine, northwestern Ontario, Canada. Vatic has the right to earn a 60% interest from Falcon (the "Option") by meeting certain expenditure and consideration requirements on the Property. Falcon has an underlying agreement with the property owner whereby it has the right to acquire a 100% interest in 2 (cobalt, copper, nickel & PGE's) mining claims in Earngey Township in the Kenora District of northwestern Ontario. The claims comprise 19 claim units and cover an area of approximately 304 hectares (see the Falcon press release of June 13, 2018). The Wabunk Bay property is highly prospective for cobalt, and the Company believes that it can explore and develop potential in a short timeframe there…

The Property is subject to a 2 kilometer area of interest and is subject to a 1% NSR in favour of the underlying owner which can be purchased for $1 million any time before commercial production. Upon exercise of the Option the Company and Falcon will form a 60/40 joint venture for further development of the Property subject to the right of the Company to acquire Falcon's 40% interest by issuing shares of the Company to Falcon based on a valuation to be conducted by at least three valuators.

Wabunk Bay Sulphide Mineralization - In 1957, the Ontario Department of Mines reported in its Mineral Resource Circular No. 2 ("MRC 2"): "The showings occur entirely within a coarse-grained hornblende gabbro cutting greenstone, sediments, and various intrusive rocks. The gabbro is 200 feet wide and has a maximum width of 300 feet. The southern 1,000 feet of this body strike north then swing to the northwest for an additional length of 1,800 feet. Chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, and pyrite occur where the gabbro is sheared and especially at the contacts of narrow diabase dikes, which strike north to northeast and are younger than the gabbro."

The MRC 2 further reported on the Wabunk Bay mineralized zones: "The main showing lies in the north-south portion of the gabbro, strikes near north, and is about 300 feet long; although mineralization is not continuous, it is found along a length of 600 feet. The average width of mineralization cut in five drill holes is 21 feet. An 18-foot chip sample ran 1.08 percent copper and 0.40 percent nickel. A 22-foot chip sample ran 0.44 percent copper and 0.12 percent nickel. The best 25 feet of drill core assayed 0.62 percent copper and 0.04 percent nickel. Core assays gave as high as 0.03 percent cobalt."

Wabunk Bay Exploration History - The history of exploration work in the area of the Wabunk Bay Cobalt Claims is summarized as follows:

  • 1941 - Sulphide mineralization is discovered by Mike Colberg.
  • 1955 - A prospector, Joe Kolak, restaked the showings and optioned the property to Campbell Island Mines and Exploration Ltd. Work completed included geophysical surveys, trenching and 6 diamond-drill holes, totaling 390 feet in 1956. Surface samples assayed 0.33% Co over 1.5m and 0.15% Co over 7.6m.
  • 2003 - Jilbey Gold Exploration Ltd. carried out a large regional reconnaissance program in the greenstone belts south and east of Red Lake, Ontario. The Wabunk Bay area was covered by an airborne geophysical survey that identified two magnetic and conductive anomalies.

About Cobalt - Demand for Cobalt, a key ingredient in Lithium-ion batteries, is expected to grow by 40% in 2018 mainly as a result of the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles in Europe, China, the US and elsewhere; this growth in demand comes on top of significant growth in the recent past that already caused significant price increases for the metal during 2017. With the main source of Cobalt being the African Copper belt Countries Zambia and the DRC, countries where a multitude of established companies and juniors have already staked their claims, any diversification in resource opportunities is welcome. The Company expects the Wabunk Bay project to be such an opportunity.  

Qualified Person - The technical content of this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Pieter J. Bakker, MSc. FAusIMM, who is a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects."

Trilogy Metals Inc. (NYSE: TMQ) is a metals exploration and development company focused on exploring and developing the Ambler mining district located in northwestern Alaska. Trilogy Metals Inc. recently announced the release of a maiden cobalt resource of 77 Million lbs. of inferred resources for the Bornite Project. The resource estimate utilized assay data from drill holes completed by the Company between 2011 and 2013, and re-sampled historic holes Kennecott drilled in the 1960s and 1970s. The 2017 holes drilled by the Company were spaced too far apart for an inferred resource and thus no updates have yet been made to the copper resource for the Bornite deposit at this time. Results from our on-going metallurgical studies indicate that cobalt occurs predominantly as cobaltiferous pyrite which preferentially reports to the copper tailings. As a result of this test work, the Company has determined that a cobalt product may be produced on site and therefore justifies reporting an initial cobalt resource in addition to the already existing copper resource at Bornite. The 77 Million lbs. of contained cobalt in inferred resources at Bornite reported, is one of the largest cobalt resources in North America. Further work will focus on developing a flowsheet for cobalt recovery from a pyrite concentrate made from the copper tailings product. Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, President and CEO of Trilogy Metals commented, "We are very pleased to report an initial 77 Million lbs. cobalt resource for our Bornite Project. The metallurgical test work completed to date indicates that ~80% to 90% of the cobalt reports to the copper tails as cobaltiferous pyrite. This is great because forming a pyrite concentrate from the copper tails should be relatively straightforward using flotation or dense media separation. In the next few months we will complete flotation test work to concentrate cobalt into a pyrite-rich product that can be considered for further upgrading and recovery of cobalt metal at the Bornite site."

PolyMet Mining Corp. (NYSE: PLM) is a publicly traded mine development company that owns 100 percent of Poly Met Mining, Inc., a Minnesota corporation that controls 100 percent of the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals ore body through a long-term lease, and owns 100 percent of the former LTV Steel Mining Company site, a large processing facility located approximately six miles from the ore body in the established mining district of the Mesabi Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota. PolyMet Mining Corp recently reported that it has filed an updated technical report with Canadian and U.S. securities agencies that reaffirms the economic and technical viability of the NorthMet copper-nickel-precious metals project, located near Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. The report provides technical and economic details for development of the mining operation in two distinct phases. Phase I involves development of 225 Million tons - nearly one-third of NorthMet's known resource - into an operating mine, processing 32,000 tons per day over a 20-year mine life. It also includes rehabilitating the former LTV Steel Mining Company processing plant. Phase II involves construction and operation of a hydrometallurgical plant to treat nickel sulfide concentrates into upgraded nickel-cobalt hydroxide and recover additional copper and platinum-group metals. While development of Phase II will be at the Company's discretion, both phases are currently being permitted and are included in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and draft permits. Phase II would increase the project's capital costs by approximately USD 259 Million. "This report reaffirms the technical and financial viability of the 32,000 tpd case for which the final EIS and draft permits have been issued. Our focus remains on obtaining final permits under the 32,000 tpd permit case, meeting our environmental and financial assurance obligations under the terms of those permits, and obtaining the necessary financing to build the project," said Jon Cherry, President and CEO. "We are making significant progress on all of those fronts."

Clean TeQ Holdings Ltd, Melbourne (OTCQX: CTEQF) is a global leader in metals recovery and industrial water treatment through the application of its proprietary Clean-iX® continuous ion exchange technology. Clean TeQ Holdings Limited recently announced the outcomes of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) for the Clean TeQ Sunrise Nickel-Cobalt-Scandium Project. The DFS confirms the Project's potential to become a globally significant supplier of nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate, critical raw materials required to support the development of the rapidly emerging electric vehicle industry. Completion of the DFS is an important milestone in the development of Clean TeQ Sunrise, one of the largest greenfield mine development projects in Australia. Utilizing Clean TeQ's proprietary Clean-iX® processing technology, the Project has been consciously designed to balance economic returns with industry-leading approaches to the management of occupational health and safety, water use, power consumption and emissions. Clean TeQ's Chief Executive Officer, Sam Riggall, commented: "Clean TeQ Sunrise is positioned to be a modern and sustainable mining operation producing products which are critical to the clean energy revolution. The global environmental issues caused by the unconstrained burning of fossil fuels in the world's transport sector are profound. Being part of the solution is a core objective of Clean TeQ and a driver of our strategy to develop Sunrise."

QMC Quantum Minerals Corp. (OTC: QMCQF), based in British Columbia, is engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of natural resource properties. The Company's focus is to create shareholder value through strategic acquisition and development of high-quality lithium, silver, gold, nickel, copper and zinc prospects. QMC Quantum Minerals Corp. recently announced that, it has signed a non-disclosure agreement with an Asian-based manufacturing company which will allow them to test the Company's lithium mineralization identified by recent channel sampling of the Irgon Pegmatite Dike to see if it meets end-use requirements of the manufacturer's customers. Indicative of the NDA, the test results, proprietary specifications, and supplier's identity will be withheld in order protect both parties' commercial interests. The Irgon Dike is located at the company's 100% owned Irgon Lithium Mine Project, within the prolific Cat Lake-Winnipeg River Pegmatite Field of S.E. Manitobathat hosts the nearby Tantalum Mining Corporation of Canada rare-element pegmatite. QMC is in the process of updating the Irgon Lithium Mine's historic lithium resource through a detailed channel sampling and subsequent drill program. This historic resource was reported in 1955 to be 1.2 Million tons grading 1.51% lithiumoxide over a strike length of 1,198 ft. and to a depth of 700 ft. Recent assay results received from the 2017 channel sampling program were very positive, supporting the original development work on the dike, highlighted by QMC reporting results of 1.43% Li2O over 18 meters including 1.73% Li2O over 14 meters with very encouraging individual sample grades of up to 4.31%, 4.0% and 3.05% Li2O over one-meter sample intervals. Following a complete reevaluation of historic TANCO assessment reports by QMC, an additional target encompassing a large, untested lithium soil anomaly, which strikes east-west across the southern part of the property, has been identified. Its strike length as currently documented is over 3,600 feet with an estimated width of up to 1,150 feet at the western end.

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