Cobalt Focus in Quebec
Volt Energy's Cobalt target is located in close proximity to the historically significant mining-town of Cobalt, Ontario have recently been the focus of heightened activity and exploration efforts in an attempt at identifying and uncovering new Cobalt discoveries. In what was largely seen as a silver camp during the period 1900 to 2000, the prospective for cobalt occurrences in Ontario and Quebec have sparked renewed interest in these areas. As demand for electric vehicles and energy storage continues to escalate, cobalt (which is a vital component of Lithium-ion batteries – comprising up to 60% of the commodity inputs) is fast becoming a highly strategic and sought after metal. It is estimated that 98% of the world’s cobalt production is produced as a result of by-product mining from copper and nickel operations. By virtue, with curtailments in recent years of copper and nickel production, cobalt production has decreased in lockstep. Further, with approximately 60% of current global cobalt supply coming out the Democratic Republic of the Congo, end users are in search of supply sources that are domiciled in politically stable jurisdictions.
About the Property
The Property geology is Proterozoic and Archaean in age. On Temiskaming, the bedrock geology is comprised primarily of sedimentary rocks: conglomerate, quartz arenite, arkose and mudstone. These sedimentary rocks have been intruded by gabbro. Further, there is a minor andesite component in the northeastern part of Temiskaming, the rock type that hosts the “Fabre Showing”. The bedrock geology of the southern Fabre block consists of a complex geology in the west. The western portion is a sedimentary package and gabbro intrusive with an accessory amount of volcanic tuff. The central and eastern parts of Fabre are composed primarily of an anorthosite-gabbro intrusive. The margins of the Property are mapped as tonalite. Located immediately in between Temiskaming and Fabre is the Fabre Showing. Drilled in 1995 by Techni-Lab Abitibi Inc., two high-grade zones mineralized with Cobalt, Silver and Bismuth were discovered. The highest grades appear to be present in veins mineralized with sphalerite, chalcopyrite and pyrite set within an altered andesite. The discovery of the Fabre Showing pre-dates National Instrument 43- 101 (“NI 43-101”) and as a result this work was not necessarily prepared under the supervision of a qualified person. The Company has not independently confirmed nor verified the historical work.
Table 1: The Fabre Cobalt-Silver Showing Drill Intercept (taken from report: GM53265)
Interpretations and Exploration Targets on Temiskaming
Previous historical exploration work was conducted by SOQUEM, a government agency founded in 1965 with a mandate to explore, discover and develop mining properties in Quebec. SOQUEM noted a thin syenite intrusive and suggested that instrusives are a key factor leading to mineralization in the thick sedimentary package when they drilled the Property in 1966. This is the case across the lake in Cobalt, Ontario. Analysis of historical drill logs has indicated that chalcopyrite and pyrite mineralization is most common near veins and or alteration zones. These alteration zones seem to be present near veins as well as intrusives. As a result, these alteration zones and contact points are the key exploration targets on the Property. Initial geological interpretation and analysis has identified five key prospective targets for the Company to focus on as outlined in Table 2. All quoted historical data, drilling and core logging pre-dates NI 43-101 and as a result was not supervised by a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101. The Company has not independently confirmed nor verified the historical work.
Table 2: Key Exploration Targets on Temiskaming
|DDH B-3.20-61||The drill log describes a sandstone mineralized with pyrite and chalcopyrite. The sandstone also had accessory amounts of mudstone, conglomerate and syenite. The drill log also suggests alteration could be due to a proximal gabbro intrusion.|
|DH 293||The drill log described mineralized bands of chalcopyrite and pyrite within sediments appearing to be present along bands that display different grain sizes in the sedimentary package.|
|Geological Contacts||Significant focus on where the gabbro contacts sedimentary rocks.|
|Nickel Potential in Gabbro||In 1998 Pro Or conducted Nickel exploration in the area (including the Property). Samples with grades up to 1.74% Nickel and 5.33% Chrome in a magnetic gabbro were observed. Canadian Cobalt production is primarily associated with Nickel mining. It is uncertain what exact nickel and chrome sample values were taken on the Property. Future work will aid in determining if there is any potential for such mineralization on the Property.|
|Gold potential||Pro Or also sampled for Gold in the Fabre area (including on the Property). A series of 7 samples with anomalous Gold values over 1 g/t were noted with the highest grade being 23.69 g/t. It is uncertain what gold sample values were taken on the Property.|
Interpretations and Exploration Targets on Fabre
A total of five diamond drill holes were drilled on the Property by the Quebec government between 1962 and 1975. Although the historical reports did not contain assay values, the drill holes intercepted arkose mineralized with chalcopyrite as well as conglomerates, siltstone, argillite and granodiorite. It appears that the best exploration targets are located on the western portion of the Property in the general area of historical drilling. Targeting the contact points between sedimentary or volcanic rocks against intrusives appears to offer the most prospective geological environment for mineralization. All quoted historical data and drilling pre-dates NI 43-101 and as a result was not supervised by a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101. The Company has not confirmed nor verified the historical work.
Table 3: Key Exploration Targets on Fabre
|DDH 1 (Report GM27945)||Drilled proximal to the contact of the gabbro and conglomerate. A mineralized quartz vein was noted in the drill log and is a target.|
|DDH 2 (Report GM27945)||Like DDH 1, this hole was drilled proximal to the contact of the gabbro and conglomerate. A mineralized quartz vein was not noted in the drill log. Either the hole was stopped early or the vein is not present in this location.|
|Gabbro and Volcanic Rocks||Gabbro and volcanic rocks dominate the central portions of the property. These rocks, especially the interface between gabbro and volcanics, are key targets.|
|Sedimentary – Gabbro Contact||This contact appears as an additional target to examine in future work programs on the Fabre property.|
The technical content of this news release has been reviewed and approved by Thomas Clarke P.Geo., Pr.Sci.Nat., a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101.
The Importance of Cobalt
Cobalt is primarily used in the preparation of magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength alloys. Demand for it is increasing, however, as a component of batteries. Lithium cobalt oxide is widely used in lithium-ion battery cathodes. Nickel-cadmium (NiCd) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries also include cobalt to improve the oxidation of nickel in the battery.
Lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) is widely used in lithium ion battery cathodes. The material is composed of cobalt oxide layers in which the lithium is intercalated. During discharge, the lithium is released as lithium ions.
Most of the world’s cobalt comes from Central Africa, often from countries with unstable systems of government. To ensure a steady cobalt supply to meet the growing demand of today’s technologies, stable sources of cobalt are being increasingly developed. Volt believes Canada is an important region for the future of Cobalt and Lithium. The company has focused its energy metal exploration targets in the mining friendly region of Quebec.
- Cobalt provides improved cycle ability
- Cobalt market expected to tighten due to combination of robust demand and absence of definitive project pipelines.
- Electric vehicles (EV’s) and Energy Storage Systems (ESS’s) projected to more than double cobalt demand.
- Volt Energy's cobalt property located on border of Cobalt, Ontario known as the birthplace of hard-rock mining in Canada
Cobalt Applications in Today's Industries
Cobalt has many unique characteristics including its magnetic properties, resistance to high temperatures, wear, and corrosion. These properties make cobalt an essential metal used in metallurgical and chemical applications which consist of the following applications:
- Cobalt is used as pre-cursers (cobalt compounds) for cathodes in rechargeable batteries.
- Jet turbine generators where high temperature strength is critical. Cobalt is used in jet turbines for aero-engines and other aerospace applications due to its higher melt point.
- Cobalt is also used in land based turbines for power generation.
- Cobalt is alloyed with aluminum and nickel to form powerful magnets. Permanent magnets are used in wind turbines, and electric motors for automobiles and aircraft.
- Cobalt is used in electroplating due to its appearance, hardness and resistance to corrosion.
- Cobalt is a component of vitamin B12 and is essential to living organism.
- Cobalt acetate is used for production of polyethylene terephthalate to produce polyester fibres for textile, packaging, and bottles.
- Cobalt oxide used in paint and dyes including green and blue colours in glass and ceramics.
- Radioactive cobalt is used in cancer treatments.