First Cobalt starts sampling the historic muckpiles
First Cobalt (FCC.V) has started a sampling program at the historic mining operations of the assets in its Cobalt Camp in Ontario, in an attempt to get a better understanding of the specifications of the mineralization which was brought to surface by the miners. This sampling program will help the company to figure out the historic grades and ratios of the cobalt, silver, copper and nickel from the underground mines, which has since been ‘stockpiled’ at at least 17 different locations.
These 17 muckpiles will be sampled imminently, and First Cobalt has also promised to take a large representative sample from these muckpiles to get a better understanding of the metallurgical characteristics of the ore. If the currently known ore sorting techniques could be applied to the muckpiles, First Cobalt has a realistic chance to generate some initial cash flow (keep in mind it already owns a mill and refinery in the cobalt camp!).
You might be surprised to learn that this ‘waste rock’ (as that’s essentially what a muckpile is) could be used to generate cash flow, but keep in mind the historic miners were chasing the very high grade mineralization and everything whichdidn’t meet the high cutoff grade was discarded. With new (automated) processing techniques and higher metal prices, it could actually be profitable to process lower grade rock as well (as the rock has already been brought to surface). Keep in mind that rock with a grade of 0.5% cobalt, a recovery rate of 80% and a payability rate of 65% still has a (recoverable and payable) value of US$140/t using a cobalt price of US$25 per pound…
And some of the samples taken from the existing muckpiles have even higher grades. First Cobalt recently reported on the assay results at the old Caswell mine, where it took several samples with a grade of in excess of 1% cobalt. One of the samples even returned a remarkable 9.44% cobalt as well as 2.92% nickel, and First Cobalt has now encountered types of mineralization which have never been reported on during the entire 100+ year history of the cobalt camp.