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Junior miner looks to revive Kenora-area cobalt mine

Australian-listed High-Tech Metals zeros in on Werner Lake deposits
Werner Lake cobalt project in northwestern Ontario (Global Energy Metals photo)

A pop-up junior mining company will take a fresh crack at putting a former Kenora-area cobalt mine back into production.

High-Tech Metals, an Australian-listed exploration company, recently closed its acquisition of the Werner Lake cobalt and copper project in a cash-and-share deal with multinational Global Energy Metals, according to a Jan. 23 news release.

Considered as an advanced exploration project, Werner Lake is a 1,700-hectare property, 80 kilometres north of Kenora, with a century's worth of exploration and mining history. 

It’s an almost turn-key project with mining infrastructure already built on the site, but never used, and a six-year-old mineral estimate on the books from a previous company. 

The Werner Lake Project was a joint venture between Global Energy Metals (70 per cent) and Marquee Resources (30 per cent).

The terms of the deal involves (Australian) $50,000 cash and 3,250,000 shares of High-Tech being transferred to Global Energy, giving them a 7.6 per cent stake in High-Tech. Marquee receives 750,000 shares of High-Tech, plus 300,000 founding shares, according to a news release. 

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High-Tech was established in February 2022 with the sole purpose of acquiring the Werner Lake Project. The company recently listed on the Australian Stock Exchange having raised $4.71 million on its IPO.

The ground, situated 14 kilometres east of the Manitoba border, features two deposits, the Werner Lake Old Mine Deposit and 500 metres away is the Werner Lake West Cobalt Deposit, 500 metres away.

A predecessor company, Marquee Resources, released a mineral resource estimate in 2017 showing a total indicated and inferred resource of 720,000 pounds of contained cobalt at an average grade of 0.51 per cent copper indicated. There’s also copper, nickel and gold in the mix.

There’s the strong possibility of finding more high-grade cobalt zones. Marquee performed some follow-up drilling in 2018 for an updated mineral resource estimate that was never completed. 

High-Tech's upcoming plans are to review the existing exploration and geological data available, drill off targets not previously tapped, and generate some new targets outside the existing ore body using electromagnetic surveying.

Metallurgical studies showed excellent cobalt recoveries and the production of cobalt carbonate end product.

Cobalt is used in lithium-ion batteries for cell phones, laptops, tablets and electric vehicles.

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Cobalt and copper at Werner Lake in the early 1920s. A number of mining companies drilled the area, off and on, up into the 1980s. There was some small-scale mine production from the Werner Lake Cobalt Mine up until the mid 1940s. A total of 143,386 pounds of cobalt was shipped at an average grade of 2.2 per cent.
Canmine Resources made the decision to build a mine in the 1990s after finding mineralization under the old mine and more resources to the west.

he company carved out a permanent road into the site, built mill buildings, a tailings dump, a 258-metre underground decline ramp with drifts and raises. But things shuddered to a halt in 2003 when Canmine went into receivership.

The site is dirt road-accessed from the Manitoba side. The road was used by Falconbridge in the mid 1970s to truck ore from the Maskwa nickel chrome mines to Werner Lake for milling.

“We are very pleased to close on this transaction with High-Tech Metals,” said Global Energy Metals CEO Mitchell Smith in a statement, “and  see the Werner Lake project with a group focused on advancing it and exposing its potential at such a pivotal time when Canada is positioning to be a powerhouse in the supply of technology enabling metals essential to an electrified future.“

“The world needs more high-quality cobalt and High-Tech is committed to begin work to realize the potential of the Werner Lake Cobalt Project in a sustainable and responsible manner to ensure strong outcomes for all stakeholders,” added High-Tech Metals Executive Director Sonu Cheema.

“Having completed the IPO, High-Tech is in a unique position to advance exploration on its flagship project focused on EV metals in a Tier-1 jurisdiction.”