Formation (the Company)’s primary asset, the 100% owned Idaho Cobalt Project, remains the only advanced stage, near term, environmentally permitted, primary cobalt deposit in the United States. The ICP will ethically produce environmentally sound battery grade cobalt products, made safely, responsibly, and transparently in the United States.
The ICP is comprised of the Mine/Mill (M/M) site located in Lemhi County, Idaho, near the town of Salmon, Idaho and the Cobalt Production Facility (CPF), a stand-alone concentrate processing facility will be located in Southern Idaho near the city of Blackfoot. The CPF will process concentrates from the M/M into cobalt, copper and gold end products. The project is slated to produce the equivalent of 1,500 tons of high purity cobalt metal annually over a projected mine life of 12.5 years.
The ICP is fully permitted having received a final Environmental Impact Statement and positive Records of Decision from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Forest Service and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
HISTORY: A Feasibility Study on the ICP completed in 2008 allowed the Company to finance the initial construction of the project. To date approximately 90% of the earthworks have been completed at the minesite.
The Company invested US$65.3 million completing two phases of the ICP construction program that commenced in June 2011 and completed in December 2012.
Approximately $16M worth of long lead time equipment was previously purchased and is stored in warehouse and staging areas outside of the town of Salmon, ready for transportation to the millsite. This equipment represents all major components of the mill and concentrator, and includes the ball mill, flotation cells, hoppers, grizzlies, etc. The project was placed on care and maintenance in May 2013 due to depressed financial markets and declining commodity prices. Click here to see a drone video of the warehouse and equipment.
By July 2014 financial markets had improved
significantly and it became apparent that cobalt, used in lithium-ion
batteries, was going to significantly outperform the market for cobalt used in
super-alloys. Rechargeable batteries
represent 49% of cobalt consumption and the market is
growing at a compounded annual rate of 11.7%.
As a result, Formation Capital's Parent Company eCobalt Solutions Inc. ("eCobalt") announced a change of direction aimed at taking advantage
of the rapidly expanding electric vehicle, grid storage, and renewable energy
Positive internal studies resulted in the commissioning of a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) on the ICP in January 2015 to evaluate viability of producing cobalt sulfate heptahydrate for the rechargeable battery sector. Previous engineering and feasibility level technical reports were completed based on the production of high purity cobalt (HPC) metal for critical applications in the jet turbines, aero-engines and aerospace sector. Management continues to maintain the future option of producing HPC at the CPF.
*Feasibility Study defined in accordance with AACE International Class 3 Cost Estimation Classification System. Class 3 estimates are typically prepared to support full project funding requests for internal and/or external investment.
Positive results from the PEA and additional metallurgical test work conducted in 2015, resulted in the commissioning of a Feasibility Study (FS)* on the ICP, completed September 2017, reported positive economic results. In addition, positive results from additional metallurgical test work to produce cobalt sulfate heptahydrate were announced in March 2016. These results are included in the FS. Results from the FS can be found on our website under “Technical Reports” and on eCobalt's website under “News”.
In November of 2017, the Company announced that is was pursuing optimization efforts on the ICP that included additional drilling for Resource augmentation and to provide samples for additional metallurgical test work, and that it was pursuing the option to produce a clean, low arsenic cobalt concentrate, a more upstream product for the cobalt markets. On December 7th, eCobalt's President and CEO reported: "Consolidation of battery materials manufacturing in China to decrease cost and increase production capacity has reduced the premium in the price of cobalt sulphate over cobalt metal. Due to these changing battery market dynamics, and in response to discussions with numerous potential offtake parties, the Company has determined that delivering a clean cobalt concentrate product is the fastest route to production, generation of cash-flows and reduction of price and technical risk to the project." Additional results of these optimization efforts have been released in January of 2018 and are reported on eCobalt's website:
Pre-construction activities on the ICP, currently underway (Q1-2018) commenced in the fall of 2017 in anticipation of the successful conclusion of mine financing. Once financing has been secured, re-commencement of construction will start with initial production expected to follow within 13 months ramping up to full production 8 months later (21 months from start of construction to full production).
The ICP remains America’s sole primary, near term, cobalt producer.