Pacific Rim Cobalt Provides Business Update
- Recent project development results prove strong nickel-cobalt mineralization
- In pursuit of nickel and cobalt; life giving DNA of the electric vehicle
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. (the “Company” or “Pacific Rim Cobalt”) (CSE: BOLT) (OTCQB: PCRCF) (FRANKFURT: NXFE) today provides Cyclops, nickel/cobalt project development update, next steps and battery metals market commentary.
The Company reported drilling as well as mini-bulk sample results indicating strong mineralization occurring from surface with nickel values of up to 2.65% and 1.78% respectively and cobalt of up to 0.24% and 0.16% respectively. The drill and mini-bulk sample results are both consistent with data which formed the basis of the Historical Estimate1 for the Project.
The Company’s mineral process and extraction partner completed a successful bench scale scoping program which yielded recoveries of up to 98.6% nickel and 96.5% cobalt respectively. The evaluation was for a proprietary leach technology and was conducted on two (2) Indonesian cobalt and nickel bearing laterite samples2 at a facility in Ontario, Canada. (The samples were not sourced from a property in which the Company has an interest)
Stakeholder agreements were completed which provide access to all areas of the project including those hosting the historically identified core mineralized zones. The Company is now well positioned to undertake all facets of its programs fundamental to publishing a resource calculation in 2019.
2019 next steps
The Company continues to receive results from drilling which it expects to disclose regularly through the balance of 2019. Approximately 15% of the planned Phase 1 and Phase 2 drilling programs for the year have been completed with approximately 50% of holes drilled having been assayed and made public.
To date drilling has been focused on an area of the project which covers ground peripheral to the main laterite zone of interest and over which historical exploration was carried out. This drilling is currently delineating the north east boundary of this zone and will progressively expand into the primary areas during the remainder of calendar 2019. Current drilling is yielding strong results and is expected to continue throughout the program as the main areas of interest are accessed.
Mini-bulk samples in 100kg batches are being prepared for shipment to a specialized laboratory in Canada for bench scale studies to test the mineralized material’s amenability for production of a mixed Ni-Co hydroxide product. Results of this program are expected to be available during calendar Q3 of 2019. Subject to the results of the bench scale studies, the Company may be in a position to initiate commissioning and construction of a pilot plant.
Additionally, the Company aims to complete its maiden resource estimate at Cyclops in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, which together with results of testing on processing options, will allow consideration for economic studies to optimize development of the project.
2019 may also mark commencement of formal negotiations with Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co., Ltd. in relation to achieving a binding Offtake Agreement for nickel and cobalt sulphates. The Companies are currently party to a Preliminary Offtake Agreement signed in July 2018.
The case for nickel
Batteries play a vital role in modern society, powering everything from flashlights and phones to electric cars. While the role of cobalt and lithium in these batteries is widely recognized, nickel is also critically important. The element is a primary ingredient in the production of a wide range of batteries, including those installed in the majority of electric cars.
Nickel also plays an important part in steel production, which led to a surge in demand from China a decade and a half ago. At that time, production efforts increased to meet the demand; today, the growing importance of nickel in batteries is causing fresh pressure, along with a supply deficit.
Nickel is further differentiated from other battery metals in its inability to respond quickly on the supply side due to the fact that bringing on a new large-scale nickel mine can often run in to the billions of dollars. (Anthony Milewski, The Often Forgotten Battery Metal (Benchmark Minerals, 2018))
Emergence of the electric vehicle
Interest in electric vehicles and demand for the batteries needed to power them is gaining significant momentum. One of the most compelling reasons behind that increased demand is the desire for clean energy.
More than 40 automakers are pivoting towards electric vehicles. While Tesla is grabbing most of the headlines, most recently by reducing the price on its Model 3 to make electric cars more affordable, established car companies are also getting into the game. It took five years to sell the first million EVs but just six months to sell the next million and forecasts are for sales up to 36 million units in 2030. Electric cars are increasingly common, as are the charging stations they need, and all but one of the major electric vehicle manufacturers use nickel in their batteries. (Bloomberg NEF)
Global automaker investments in EVs now total more than US$90 billion, with at least US$19 billion attributed to the US, $21 billion to China and $52 billion to Germany. CRU predict that EVs will account for 30% of car sales by 2030, up from just 2% in 2020 – a staggering compound annual growth rate of above 30% over this period. If EVs account for 30% of automobile sales, this will require an estimated additional 1.1 million tons of nickel and 314kt of cobalt.
Indonesia is nickel
One of the world’s largest sources of nickel production by nation is Indonesia. The country is rich with deposits of the metal, many of which have yet to be effectively exploited.
The dominant source of nickel in country is laterite deposits. The Company’s Cyclops is such an occurrence. Nickel Laterites are composed of long tabular bodies, over several hundred meters, but only tens of meters deep.
Other laterite projects in the region include MMC’s $2.1 billion Ramu nickel mine in Papua New Guinea @ 1.0% nickel; ERAMET’s Weda Bay @ 1.36% nickel; and ANTAM’s Gag island @ 1.63% nickel, both in Indonesia.
Pacific Rim Cobalt’s management in pleased to have established a presence in Indonesia; a strategically-located, ethical jurisdiction within the geographic sphere of China, the dominant EV market player on the planet.
The Cyclops Project; location is key
The Cyclops Project area located in Papua Province, Indonesia, benefits from excellent infrastructure, including proximity to a work force and supplies, sealed roads, ocean access, nearby port facility, and gentle topography. The road system enables year-round access to the project and connects it with the large town of Sentani, located about 15 kilometres (kms) to the east, and with Jayapura, the capital city of Papua province, located about 40kms to the east.
National Instrument 43-101 Disclosure
The technical content of this news release has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Garry Clark, PGeo, independent director of Pacific Rim Cobalt and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101.
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 indicate mineralization from surface with an estimated potential of 37 million tonnes of 0.11 per cent cobalt and 1.31 per cent nickel at a 0.8-per-cent-nickel-cut-off grade. The company intends to validate the resource and, where possible, expand upon the historical estimate, as only five of the nine known cobalt/nickel occurrences were the subject of the historical studies. The company affirms this data in no way implies an estimated resource valuation but are offered as a basis for its current exploratory efforts and approach.
Pacific Rim Cobalt considers the cobalt and nickel tonnage and grade estimates contained herein to be historical estimates. The historical estimates are contained in the summary geologic investigations, PT Pacific Nikkel Indonesia 1969 (Reynolds, 1979). These historical estimates do not use categories that conform to current CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum) definition standards on mineral resources and mineral reserves as outlined in National Instrument 43-101 (Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects) and have not been redefined to conform to current CIM definition standards. These estimates were prepared in the 1980s prior to the adoption and implementation of NI 43-101. A qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimates as current mineral resources, and Pacific Rim Cobalt is not treating the historical estimates as current mineral resources. More work, including, but not limited to drilling will be required to conform the estimates to current CIM definition standards. Investors are cautioned that the historical estimates do not mean or imply that economic deposits exist on the company's project. Efforts to obtain any additional information regarding relevant historical work are continuing, although there are no assurances that these original data will be found. Pacific Rim Cobalt believes that the historical estimates are relevant to continuing exploration on the project. For more information, please refer to the technical report, filed on SEDAR on Dec. 8, 2017, and available under the company's profile at SEDAR.
About Pacific Rim Cobalt
Pacific Rim Cobalt is a Canadian‐based exploration company focused on the acquisition and development of production grade nickel and cobalt deposits, key raw material inputs for the growing lithium‐ion battery industry. Visit https://pacificrimcobalt.com/ to find out more.
Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp.
Ranjeet Sundher – President and CEO
Steve Vanry – CFO & Director
Sean Bromley – Director & Investor Contact
This news release may contain statements which constitute “forward-looking information” that are subject to risks and uncertainties. All statements herein, other than statements of historical fact, are to be considered forward-looking, including statements regarding the plans, intentions, beliefs and current expectations of the Company, its directors, or its officers with respect to the future business activities of the Company and with respect to the results of exploration and prospective plans in regards to the Cyclops project. The words “may”, “would”, “could”, “will”, “intend”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect” and similar expressions, as they relate to the Company, or its management, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking information are based on reasonable assumptions, such information is not a guarantee of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information. Information provided in this document is necessarily summarized and may not contain all available material information. Although Pacific Rim Cobalt has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, there can be other factors that cause results, performance or achievements not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking information include, but are not limited to, fluctuations in market prices, success of the operations of the Company, continued availability of capital and financing and general economic, market or business conditions. There can be no assurances that such information will prove accurate and, therefore, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this news release are made as of the date of this news release, and the Company does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking information except as required under the applicable securities laws.
Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the Canadian Securities Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.