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Cobalt hunter out to “dominate” mining district

First Cobalt acquiring rights to historic Silver Centre mines
The view of Gibson Lake from the former Keeley silver-cobalt mine. (Canadian Silver Hunter photo)

First Cobalt Corp., a Toronto exploration upstart, is making some deft moves to pick up more property in the historic Cobalt mining camp with the acquisition of a past producing mine complex.

The company announced March 16 that it has secured an option to acquire the historic Keeley-Frontier silver-cobalt mines in the ghost town of Silver Centre.

The neighbouring towns of Silver Centre and Cobalt once produced 50 million pounds of cobalt and 600 million ounces of silver over 60 years.

Between 1908 and 1965, the two mines at the combined Keeley-Frontier complex produced more than 3.3 million pounds of cobalt and 19.1 million ounces of silver from 301,000 tonnes of ore.

Back in its hey-day, Keeley-Frontier had the highest ratio of cobalt-to-silver of all the area’s silver mines, producing one pound of cobalt for every 5.8 ounces of silver.

The mines have extensive underground workings, including 10 shafts, going as deep as 465 metres.

Under the option terms, First Cobalt can earn a 100 per cent interest in the mine property for a payment of $1.45 million to Canadian Silver Hunter.

Located 25 kilometres south of the town of Cobalt, the mine property is next to First Cobalt’s South Lorrain cobalt claim blocks and would boost their land package at Silver Centre to 2,100 hectares.

Cashed up with $6 million, First Cobalt has started compiling all of the existing data of the Silver Centre mining camp and expects to conduct field work this summer.

First Cobalt suggests there’s great potential to find new high-grade cobalt and silver based on the compilation of the historic mining data with a 2,000-metre exploration drill program performed by Canadian Silver Hunter in 2012.

With half of the world’s global cobalt production being used in battery manufacturing, the company is intent on being a “first mover” in gathering up cobalt properties, beginning with the assemblage a large land package in northeastern Ontario.

"This strategic transaction provides First Cobalt with a dominant land position in a historic mining district with outstanding infrastructure that has not seen meaningful exploration activity in modern times," said company president-CEO Trent Mell. "This is a meaningful progression in the company's strategy of building a leading cobalt resource company and we continue to evaluate opportunities in Canada and elsewhere."