The move comes as the cobalt market “continues to strengthen” as North America aims to become less reliant on foreign supply, the Toronto-based junior said in a statement.
Exploration will refine drill targets eastwards along strike of the cobalt-rich zone over a 300-metre vertical depth where 0.2% cobalt over 12 metres is found, and test the western extension of the copper-rich zone that includes 3.4% copper over 2.6 metres, the firm said.
Iron Creek is a high grade underground primary cobalt deposit with an indicated resource of 2.2 million tonnes at 0.3% cobalt equivalent (0.3% cobalt and 0.6% copper) for 12.3 million pounds of contained cobalt and an inferred resource of 2.7 million tonnes at 0.3% cobalt equivalent (0.2% cobalt and 0.7% copper) for an additional 12.7 million pounds of contained cobalt.
Iron Creek is located in the Idaho Cobalt Belt
The survey, which is expected to take around three weeks to complete, will trace the Iron Creek cobalt and copper resource over the current 900-metre strike extent of the deposit and assess historical geophysical anomalies found within the stratigraphic footwall below the resource.
Results will be interpreted and released later this year in anticipation of a planned drill program at Iron Creek in 2021.
First Cobalt CEO Trent Mell called the Idaho Cobalt Belt a unique geological setting for cobalt deposits “unlike anywhere else in the world.”
"Developing a domestic supply of cobalt and other critical minerals has taken a new urgency in 2020, as North America strives to become less reliant on foreign supply,” Mell said in a statement. “New funding programs within the US Department of Energy, the Department of State and the Department of Defense underscore the priority the US government is placing on developing its domestic critical minerals supply chain.”
The United States Geological Survey has deemed the Idaho Cobalt Belt to be strategically important as a domestic supply of cobalt, according to First Cobalt.
"Since publishing an updated cobalt and copper resource estimate for Iron Creek earlier this year, we have had a three-pronged focus: extending cobalt mineralization to the east, extending copper mineralization to the west, and identifying new targets within a 2-kilometre radius on the property,” Mell added. “This geophysics program will increase our confidence in existing drill targets that could expand the Iron Creek deposit and provide new targets.”
In 2019, First Cobalt announced high grade cobalt assays up to 0.5% cobalt at the Ruby prospect 1.5 kilometres south of Iron Creek, which Mell said could represent additional near-surface potential for cobalt and copper mineralization on the property.
The company owns North America's only permitted cobalt refinery located in Ontario, Canada.
Contact Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on Twitter @AHarmantas