Market Overview

Cobalt Market Projected to Grow With Demand for Lithium-ion Batteries


Cobalt Market Projected to Grow With Demand for Lithium-ion Batteries News Commentary

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, June 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

According to data compiled by TechNavio, the value of the global cobalt market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.26% during the period of 2018-2022. Cobalt is a key resource in producing lithium ion batteries due to its elemental resistance. Lithium ion batteries are often used in reusable consumer electronic products such as laptops, phones and tablets, and more recently electric vehicles have begun to implement them in their design as well. At the current rate of the market, lithium ion battery demand is outpacing the supply, resulting in price increases for key components, such as cobalt and lithium. A report by Variant Market Research predicts the Global Lithium-Ion Battery market to reach USD 56 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 10.6%. Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. (OTC:PCRCF), First Cobalt Corp (OTC:FTSSF), Fortune Minerals Limited (OTC:FTMDF), Pure Energy Minerals Ltd. (OTC:PEMIF), Panasonic Corp. (OTC:PCRFY)

Electric vehicles are projected to grow at a rapid rate in the coming years as many countries begin to implement an environmentally efficient road plan. Many auto manufacturers are in the process of shifting from diesel powered vehicles to electric models, causing a large demand increase globally. "Future demand for cobalt from the EV (electric vehicle) sector is looking tangible and is more positive than originally expected," one commodity-focused fund manager said according to Reuters. "China has some aggressive plans in terms of electric vehicles...It will be a major driver behind cobalt consumption growth."

Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. (OTCQB:PCRCF) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the Ticker (CSE:BOLT). On April 25th the company announced, "the mobilization of two drill rigs to commence a detailed exploration program at its 5,000 hectare TNM project, Papua Province, Indonesia."

As previously announced, all required exploration and environmental permits have been secured, which allow the Company to immediately commence an exploration program including mapping, surface sampling, and drilling at the TNM project. Additionally, over the last 90 days, Company representatives have conducted extensive community consultation with local stakeholders as well as regional government officials, resulting in overwhelming support for the Company's plan to advance the project.

Drilling will consist of shallow holes averaging 35 meters vertical depth, which based on historical information is sufficient to intersect both the upper, cobalt enriched limonite zone as well as the lower saprolite zone. Historical operators drilled to average depths of 7 meters and reported not to have intersected the full laterite profile with elevated cobalt and nickel occurring at the bottom of the holes. The TNM project was extensively explored by previous operators with a focus on nickel mineralization during which time they completed 856 drill holes and 26 test pits. Pacific Rim Cobalt's efforts will focus both on the five historically identified and drill-tested prospects as well as four previously un-drilled prospects.

The exploration program will include additional surface mapping, hand auger drilling and sampling of the cobalt and nickel mineralized zones. Mapping will include detailed drone-operated topographic and photographic surveys as control for current and future exploration activities. Onsite facilities are being constructed which will house a general field office and laboratory for initial study and preparation of drill core samples prior to transit for independent assay in Jakarta.

A Historical Estimate, which dates from before the requirement for uniform regulatory compliance and therefore fails to meet the current standards of National Instrument 43-101, is being referenced as a guide for Pacific Rim Cobalt's 2018 work program. This early data employed measurements still in use today and indicates mineralization from surface with an estimated potential of 37 million tonnes of 0.11% cobalt and 1.31% nickel at a 0.8% nickel cut-off grade. The Company intends to validate the resource, and where possible, expand upon the Historical Estimate, as only 5 of the 9 known cobalt/nickel occurrences were the subject of the historic studies. For clarity, and to provide reference to the transparency and integrity of the research in question, please see the attached footnote regarding the Historical Estimate. The Company affirms this data in no way implies an estimated resource valuation but is offered as a basis for its current exploratory efforts and approach."

Mr. Ranjeet Sundher, Pacific Rim Cobalt's President and CEO, states, "Our strategic location on the north coast of Papua Province, Indonesia puts the TNM Project in close proximity to the largest battery metals markets in the world. With the commencement of our inaugural drill program guided by historical data, we are optimistic about the unique possibility of developing this project into an asset that will add shareholder value and position the Company to one day play a part in the battery metals supply chain. We expect the near surface nature of cobalt / nickel mineralization at the TNM Project will lend itself well to low cost, logistically straight forward drilling, thus we anticipate the opportunity to undertake a resource calculation study will present itself in the near future. It's going to be a busy year ahead and we look forward to getting the drills turning and building value."

First Cobalt Corp (OTCQX:FTSSF) is a vertically integrated North America pure-play cobalt company. First Cobalt Corp. announced on June 4th, 2018 the completion of the previously announced acquisition of US Cobalt Inc. by way of plan of arrangement. US Cobalt shareholders will receive 1.5 common shares of First Cobalt for each US Cobalt share held and US Cobalt has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Cobalt. The transaction received formal approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) on June 1, 2018. In conjunction with this transaction, the Company has reconstituted its Board of Directors to include Mr. Garett Macdonald, technical advisor with US Cobalt. Trent Mell, President & Chief Executive Officer, commented: "Garett Macdonald's extensive experience as a mine developer is a welcome addition to the board of First Cobalt as we move to fast track activities at the Iron Creek Project in Idaho and leverage synergies with First Cobalt's refinery in Ontario. I am pleased to welcome him to the board and I look forward to his input on strategy and execution."

Fortune Minerals Limited (OTCQX:FTMDF) is a Canadian mining company focused on developing the vertically integrated NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project in the Northwest Territories and a related refinery the Company plans to construct in Saskatchewan. Fortune Minerals Limited provide an update on April 19th, 2018 regarding its financing for its 100% owned NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Project in Canada ("NICO Project"). The NICO Project is one of few new cobalt assets globally with the potential to be in production by the early 2020's and respond to the accelerating demand from transformative automotive electrification, portable electronic devices and stationary storage. As this study nears completion, Fortune has been advancing discussions with a number of parties to participate in a complete project finance solution to fund construction of the NICO Project. Discussions are continuing with automotive manufacturers, battery and trading companies, mining companies, banks, sovereign wealth funds and intermediaries.

Pure Energy Minerals Ltd. (OTCQB:PEMIF) is a lithium resource developer that is driven to become a low-cost supplier for the growing lithium battery industry. Pure Energy's CV Project is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada, adjacent to the only producing lithium-brine operation in North America. The CV Project has access to excellent infrastructure and an experienced workforce in one of the world's premier mining jurisdictions. Pure Energy Minerals Limited announce on May 31st, 2018 the completion of basic design for the pilot plant at its flagship Clayton Valley Project ("CV Project"). The pilot plant design is being led by Tenova Advanced Technologies ("TAT") with significant contributions from SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions, a business unit of SUEZ Group, and NORAM Engineering & Constructors (collectively, the "Engineering Team"). The facility at the CV Project will be the first pilot-scale implementation of the Tenova Process in the world. Completion of the pilot plant basic design is an important milestone in Pure Energy's development of the CV Project. Patrick Highsmith, Pure Energy's CEO, stated, "We are truly excited to receive the pilot-plant basic design package from the Engineering Team. The team has made significant progress over the three months since we last met at TAT's research facility in Israel. The basic design package represents the culmination of thousands of hours of engineering effort toward the design of this first-of-its-kind facility. We are particularly pleased to work with Tenova, SUEZ, and NORAM, all of whom are world-renowned leaders in their respective fields. Their support is invaluable to the development and success of the CV Project."

Panasonic Corp. (OTC:PCRFY) vision for the future centers on developing products that offer you convenience, performance, and sustainability. The company delivers with supply of sophisticated lithium-ion battery technology for electric vehicles and the development of solar energy, particularly for people in remote areas. Panasonic Corporation announced recently that it has developed a glass composite circuit board material (product number: R-1785) suited for automotive and industrial equipment. Mass production is scheduled to start in June 2018. With the ever-increasing use of electronics in vehicles and recent trend toward high functionality of various industrial equipment, electronic circuit boards now require excellent parts mountability and compatibility with high currents. Panasonic has developed a glass composite circuit board material (CEM-3 grade) that achieves the industry's lowest coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) [1] by using its unique manufacturing method and resin design technology, thereby contributing to the improvement of parts mounting reliability and compatibility with high currents for electronic circuit boards.

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