Discovering World Class Cobalt Assets in Uganda
This profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
M2 Cobalt (TSXV:MC, FSE:A0K, OTCQB:MCCBF) is a cobalt exploration company which has launched a major work program across all its highly prospective cobalt properties in Uganda with the goal of discovering world class assets which can help meet the ongoing growth in demand for cobalt globally.
In 2016, Reuters reported demand for cobalt would see an increase of 45 percent by the year 2020 as rechargeable battery electrodes, built using cobalt, became more prominent. Many predict this pace of growth to continue and with over 60 percent of the world’s cobalt coming from the conflict-stricken Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), there is uncertainty that the market’s need for cobalt can be met.
In neighbouring Uganda, M2 Cobalt has assembled two highly prospective project areas totalling approximately 1,600 square kilometers. The country is stable, democratic and is on trend with some of the key mineral trends from the DRC and offers similar geological potential and yet remains largely unexplored. M2 Cobalt’s Kilembe area properties span 193 square kilometers and are close to and on trend with the historic Kilembe mine, a former mass producer of cobalt and copper between 1956 and 1977, while Bujagali is a 1,400-square-kilometer project in South Central Uganda where initial rock sampling has found grades of up to 0.65 percent cobalt.
In recent years, the government of Uganda has positioned the country to be mining-friendly and open for investment. Reforms to the mining code in 2003 highlighted the need to “stimulate mining sector development by promoting private sector participation,” and to “ensure that mineral wealth supports national economic and social development.” Revision of the Mining Act was aimed at making regulation more transparent and to assuage any investors uncertainty about Ugandan policy.
M2 Cobalt CEO Simon Clarke believes his company has the best potential to discover and develop cobalt assets on a large scale. Both Bujagali and the Kilembe area Properties occupy areas which the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) assessed to be amongst Uganda’s “highest exploration priorities” for cobalt.
Among M2 Cobalt’s cadre of experienced management is Dr. Jennifer Hinton, a geological engineer and expert in local and artisanal mining in East and Central Africa. Dr. Hinton has spent 13 years living and working in Uganda, having originally been posted there by the World Bank to play a key role in re-energizing the mining industry in the country. M2 Cobalt has a team of over 20 people based in Uganda, led by Dr. Hinton.
- Two major projects in the stable jurisdiction of Uganda, with a similar geologic footprint to DRC.
- M2 Cobalt is building on work done by GTK and other groups giving it first mover advantage in Uganda for cobalt and associated minerals.
- The projects are in areas independently deemed to have the greatest exploration potential for cobalt.
- Strong local infrastructure, strong support and workforce locally
- Transparent and mining-friendly regulatory framework
- Global demand for cobalt growing explosively with growth in electric vehicles
- Experienced management team with well connected and skilled local team
Mining in Uganda
With an average GDP growth rate of 4.25 between 2011-2017, The Republic of Uganda’s stability is one of the East-African nation’s biggest selling points to investors interested in its resources. Uganda has now experienced over 30 years of stability, and has a legal system based on British Law. To further entice investment to its mining industry, the country partnered with the World Bank and its partners such as GTK. GTK conducted extensive field work nationwide and mapped Uganda’s regions based on their mining prospectivity.
Compared to its neighbour the DRC, Uganda possesses similar benefits with fewer risks. The two nations share the same underlying geology and mineral potential, but the DRC has experienced significant conflict, with portions of the country under the control of various militias. Uganda’s pro-business government, significant history of cobalt and copper production, and yet under-explored territory, combined with the unique geology of the region, make it a prime candidate for cobalt exploration and development.
The area surrounding M2 Cobalt’s Bujagali project has a rich local history of high-grade deposits, with major artisanal gold rushes occuring in the recent past. Reconnaissance rock grab samples gathered from the area’s rolling hills and river valleys were found to contain up to 0.65 percent cobalt; 3.5 g/t gold and 0.17 percent copper. Furthermore, analysis by GTK identified a significant nickel anomaly, showing levels of nickel as high as 1938 ppm nickel, indicative of nickel-cobalt mineralization (GTK 2011).
The company’s current work program has already confirmed this as a discovery and delineated a large scale nickel-cobalt-copper anomaly, including rock grab samples of up to 0.65 percent cobalt. The company refers to this anomaly as its “Bombo Target”.
Analysis shows that the Bujagali project is underlain by the Buganda-Toro Proterozoic meta-sedimentary volcanic rocks which hosted the historic Kilembe Copper-Cobalt Mine, which once produced 16 million tonnes of copper and cobalt ore between 1956 and 1977. M2 Cobalt’s Bujagali Project, is made up of five licenses totaling 1,371 square kilometres in South Central Uganda. GTK ranked this as one of the highest priority targets for exploration nationwide.
Potential polymetallic IOCG-style mineralization and potential cobalt deposits resembling those found in the DRC have been indicated based on geochemistry and geophysical analysis. M2 Cobalt launched a large-scale work program across all of its Bujagali and Kilembe assets in early February, 2018 and is currently in the process of identifying drill-ready targets. Early results from the field have already confirmed the discovery of a large nickel-cobalt-copper anomaly (1200m x 900m) at the Company’s Bombo Target.
According to Clarke, one of the reasons which makes Uganda generally, and Bujagali in particular, so intriguing is how under-explored it is. Despite a strong history of artisanal mining there are no other active explorations currently being conducted in the Bujagali area.
Both the Bujagali and the Kilembe area properties are well supported by local infrastructure. Water and power are both in good supply and secondary roads throughout the seven exploration licenses connect them to small villages, making them easily accessible either by vehicle or on foot. The nearest major population centers to the Bujagali Project are Kibaale and Kiboga. Both cities provide the necessary food, lodging and supply services necessary for sustaining preliminary exploration. Furthermore, both sites are situated in a region with an optimal climate for day-day operations.
Kilembe Area Properties
M2 Cobalt’s Kilembe area properties are located close tos the Kasese Airport and 300 kilometers of paved highway away from Kampala, Uganda’s capital. The properties are also underlain by the Buganda-Toro Proterozoic meta-sedimentary and volcanic rocks, thereby sharing similar underlying geology to Bujagali and significant potential. The area also possesses a local skilled labour force. The Kilembe area borders the DRC and M2 Cobalt’s properties are comprised of two licenses totaling 193 square kilometers.
The licenses which make up the properties, are respectively 25 km North and 25 km South of, and both are on trend with the historic Kilembe Mine. Whilst in production, Falconbridge produced ore grading approximately 2 percent copper and approximately 0.17 percent cobalt from Kilembe. The focus of that time (1956-1977) was copper and the mine achieved some of the best copper grades globally in its day and was a strong contributor to the local economy.
More recent analysis by GTK in 2011 in the area showed ore assays of 2.20 percent copper, 0.25 percent cobalt and 0.36 percent nickel.
There has been no sampling at the Company’s Kilembe area properties yet as part of the Company’s current work programs. However, the company launched a high profile, high resolution airborne geophysical survey over its licenses in the Kilembe area on March 29, 2018. This survey is utilizing latest technology and is designed to identify buried targets that possess a similar signature to the copper-cobalt deposits at the Kilembe Mine. In addition, once the airborne survey is complete the Company will mobilize a full ground program including detailed soil and rock sampling and ground geophysics.
The Technical Report prepared for M2 Cobalt on its Uganda properties states Kilembe contains comparable magnetic characteristics to the Buganda-Toro System, where the Kilembe copper-cobalt district sits. Furthermore, the report states that advances in technology will lead to the discovery of substantive deposits in Uganda.
With 50 million pounds of cobalt and 600 million ounces of silver produced over a 60 year period, the Ontario Cobalt Camp is Canada’s most prolific cobalt mining camp. M2 Cobalt’s Silverside Property is squarely in the Camp and is located 30 kilometers northwest of the town of Cobalt and approximately 450 kilometers north of Toronto. The total claims which makeup the property equate to approximately 2,800 hectares.
Historic results have shown cobalt occurring at grades of 0.74 percent and 0.62 percent. Exploration has indicated the possibility of sizeable deposits of cobalt, silver and copper sulphide minerals in meta-sedimentary rocks approximately 80 meters to 90 meters below surface. Recent work at the property has identified anomalies and has corroborated some of the historic work done.
The project is supported by the existing infrastructure of towns in close proximity. Diesel generators provide electric power on-site and water for drilling projects easily sourced from nearby lakes. Diamond drilling equipment can be obtained nearby either in Kirkland Lake or in the neighbouring province of Québec. There is good road, rail and air infrastructure across the Region.
Simon Clarke, LLB, Dip.LP – Director, CEO
Simon Clarke has spent 25 years in senior roles focused on resources / energy / energy technology. Co-founder OSUM Oil Sands, former EVP RailPower Technologies, former Director Doublestar Resources. LLB, University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Andy Edelmeier, MBA, CPA, CMA – Director, CFO
Andy Edelmeier was a senior investment banker with JP Morgan Chase & Credit Suisse First Boston in London. He is President Braemar West Capital Inc. MBA London Business School.
Thomas Lamb, JD, MSc, BA , – Director, VP Operations
Thomas Lamb is an ex-securities lawyer. He is also a co-founder of Goldgroup Mining and an ex-Director at Uzhuralzoloto Group, Russia’s 3rd largest gold producer. He is the CEO of Auranda Minerals focused on East Africa exploration and is a Sloan Fellow from London Business School.
Dr Jennifer Hinton, Ph.D – Director East Africa Operations
Jennifer Hinton is a world renowned expert on local and artisanal mining in East and Central Africa. Based in Uganda for 13 years, she is an ex-consultant to World Bank, UN agencies and multinationals. She has key local relationships and heads East Africa Operations. She earned her Ph.D in Geological Engineering at the University of British Columbia.
Graham Harris, BA - Director
Graham Harris is the current Chair of Millennial Lithium Corp (TSXV:ML). He has 30 years in finance industry leadership roles and is a former SVP & Director of Canaccord Capital.
Dean Besserer, P.Geo - Qualified Person – Technical Advisor
Vice President of Exploration – Cedar Mountain Exploration Inc. VP APEX – over 20 years making discoveries and managing exploration for majors and juniors around the world, including Africa.
Michael Kobler, BSc – Technical Advisor
Mining Engineer – 35 years experience globally. Senior management roles, Co-founder / original CEO Osum Oil Sands (9,000 bopd). CEO American Lithium (TSXV:LI)
Mahendra Naik, CPA – Director
Mr Naik was one of the founding directors and key executives who started IAMGOLD Corporation (“IAMGOLD”), a TSX and NYSE listed gold mining company. Mr. Naik is also the Chairman of the Board, Fortune Minerals Limited (TSE: FT).
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