Thomas Edison and the Quest for Energy Metals.
The upside exploration potential for cobalt, copper, nickel, and gold at the Thomas Edison Mine
At the turn of the 20th century, Thomas Edison was developing a new cobalt-iron battery (US patent US678722A). Similar to today’s situation, Edison had difficulty sourcing sufficient supplies of cobalt in order to keep the price down. Edison was heavily involved with the original Cobalt Ontario silver rush, although it was not the silver he was interested in but the by-product cobalt. In an attempt to remain anonymous, Edison sent undercover representatives to Cobalt, Ontario to buy cobalt bearing minerals. In 1905 Edison acquired a property now known as the Thomas Edison Mine. Another thing that came from this was Edison’s development of the battery powered miners’ head lamp.
Edison Cobalt Corp. (TSXV: EDDY) is a junior mining exploration company focused on the procurement, exploration and development of cobalt, lithium, and other energy metals for the battery industry. Added to this Edison have also found some gold, with one result showing up to 7 grams Au/t in a new zone.
The Kittson Cobalt Project
Located near the town of Cobalt in northeast Ontario Canada, the Company’s flagship project, the Kittson Cobalt Project, hosts 3 mines now consisting of 216 unpatented claims and 1 patented claim totaling 4,440 hectares. Veins hosting the mineralization at the Kittson-Cobalt Project are lower in silver but richer in cobalt, and are associated with significant gold.
Edison Cobalt’s three mines at the Kittson Cobalt Project
The Thomas Edison Mine.
The mine was operated remotely by Edison from 1905 to 1907. This included sinking two shafts extracting, between 6 and 8 tons of unknown grade ore. The Edison Cobalt mine has not had exploration since 1905, and has been locked up in the family trust of the Edison family since then. No commercial production is recorded.
The Cobalt-Kittson Mine.
Although production records are sparse, 600 pounds of smaltite was mined from the 580 foot level and gold assays up to 6.86 g/t were also reported. Sampling of the Kittson mine waste pile by the company during the summer exploration program returned up to 11 g/t gold, 0.20% cobalt, and 9.12% copper. More recent sampling (1987) of the mine waste pile by the Ontario Geological Survey personnel returned 0.25% cobalt, 0.75 % nickel, 0.05% copper and 3.4 g/t gold.
The Shakt-Davis mine.
Historic reports from the Shakt-Davis mine indicate values of 1.5% Co over 1.37 metres and select grab samples returning up to 4% Co and 93.3 g/t Au. Locally significant nickel, copper, and to a lesser extend lead, zinc and bismuth also occur within the quartz-carbonate veins.
The Congo risk to cobalt supply
Neil Pettigrew, President and CEO recently stated: “2018 saw increased supply coming out of the Congo, which negatively affected cobalt prices. However, stability remains a major concern in the Congo highlighted by the recent delay in announcing the election results, and the possibility of a transfer of power in the Country. We have also yet to see the long term effects of the Congo’s new mining act that came into force late last year and imposed steep taxes and royalties on Cobalt. Going forward, the electrification of the transportation sector will only increase, and since no near term commercial replacement exists for lithium-cobalt batteries, we will see significantly more demand for cobalt in the future.”
The significance here is that non-Congo sourced cobalt has several advantages including much lower risk, lower royalties, lower taxation, and closer proximity to end markets.
Demand forecasts show that the green revolution will require a lot more cobalt (Co)
Edison Cobalt intend to address the growing demand for energy metals that are being driven by innovation and the introduction of new technologies fundamentally led by the growing adaptation for electric vehicles, renewable energy, and increased production of super alloys.
Although lithium has grabbed the headlines, cobalt is actually the tougher challenge for battery suppliers due to supply constraints. With today’s electric cars requiring robust and higher energy density batteries it means that most lithium-ion batteries will use cobalt.
Edison Cobalt is working towards being a future supplier of cobalt from a safer country such as Canada. The Company is still only in the early stages of exploration and therefore has a small market cap of just CAD$4 million. The Company has large upside exploration potential particularly for cobalt, copper, nickel, and gold.