The project, a joint venture between Broken Hill Prospecting and Cobalt Blue, will now move forward to the bankable feasibility stage.
The Thackaringa joint venture cobalt project between Cobalt Blue (ASX:COB) and Broken Hill Prospecting (ASX:BPL) is now moving to the bankable feasibility study (BFS) stage after the completion of a prefeasibility study (PFS).
The PFS, released Wednesday (July 4), outlines probable ore reserves of 46.3 million tonnes at 819 ppm cobalt with an initial mine life of 9.3 years. Cobalt Blue has now spent the required minimum AU$2.5 million to deliver the PFS, giving it 70-percent beneficial ownership in the joint venture.
Cobalt Blue will receive 100-percent beneficial ownership once the project reaches stage four of the joint venture, targeted for June 2020. It will then make a final AU$7.5-million payment to Broken Hill, with Broken Hill retaining a 2-percent net smelter royalty on cobalt production.
With the PFS now completed, project financing negotiations can begin.
“The PFS demonstrates the potential for COB to become a leading global supplier of cobalt sulphate to the lithium-ion battery industry,” Cobalt Blue Chairman Rob Biancardi said in a statement. “The project will now move into a Bankable Feasibility Study. Further resource work will target a 20-year mine life, as the production target case is limited to under 13 years.”
Global demand for cobalt is on the rise with the progression of electric vehicles and lithium-ion battery development. According to CRU International, which Cobalt Blue consulted for the project, demand will increase by 7 percent per year from 2018 to 2021, “supporting a global deficit.”
As the company moves ahead to the BFS, it is looking to further investigate optimization of metal recoveries, average power pricing, process plant tailings handling and storage and opportunities to extend Thackaringa’s mine life.
The project is located in New South Wales and covers an area of 63 square kilometers. The BFS is expected be completed by June 2019, and will entail a minimum expenditure of AU$5 million in ground.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.