With cobalt prices soaring at record levels, Castle Silver Resources TSXV:CSR opens a new front in its quest for the coveted commodity. The company has begun an “aggressive” 1,500-metre program at the Castle past-producer, where cobalt potential was downplayed by previous silver mining operations. This campaign will be carried out from surface within 200 metres of the former mine’s portal, the company stated.
Last month the company released assays from 200 kilograms of underground chip samples taken just inside the portal, with selected samples grading as high as 1.8% cobalt, 8.6% nickel and 25.2 g/t silver. Underground sampling was continuing, Castle Silver reported.
Some of the material will undergo tests with the company’s proprietary Re-2OX hydrometallurgical process to produce cobalt powder samples for end-user evaluation. The company also sees potential for Re-2OX to recover lithium and cobalt from Li-ion batteries.
To help guide the current drill program, Castle Silver gleaned 3D data from a cavity monitoring survey of the former mine’s first level, one of 11 levels in an operation that produced about 9.5 million ounces of silver and 299,847 pounds of cobalt during intermittent extraction between 1917 and 1988.
The 3,252-hectare property lies about 80 kilometres northwest of Ontario’s historic Cobalt camp. Within the camp itself, Castle Silver holds a 100% option on the Beaver and Violet cobalt-silver properties and their former mines.
On June 15 the company closed the final tranche of an over-subscribed private placement that totalled $1.2 million.
London Metal Exchange prices currently peg cobalt at $59,500 a tonne, up from $32,750 at the beginning of the year. In April Benchmark Mineral Intelligence analyst Caspar Rawles told a Vancouver audience that the Democratic Republic of Congo produces 64% of global cobalt mined supply while China produces 57% of refined supply.