A cobalt mining operation says it found promising results in its surveying of a site north of Yellowknife.
The NICO cobalt mine, which is located northeast of Whati, around 160 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife, was surveyed by Aurora Geosciences using ground magnetometer surveys.
Three-dimensional imaging produced from the surveys identified five priority sites where there are large deposits of minerals.
The mine has more than 33 million tonnes of minerals available for mining, including containing 1.1 million ounces of gold and 82.3 million pounds of cobalt.
The company is planning to start a drilling program to test the five best targets, with the mine set to use an open pit, as well as an underground mine and mill.
When operations start, the NICO mine will be one of the few cobalt mines operational outside of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has the world’s largest reserves of cobalt. Over 60 per cent of the world’s supply of cobalt is produced in the African nation.
Cobalt is often used in aircraft engines and lithium batteries, which are used in rechargeable electronic products like cell phones. It is also used to make lithium-ion batteries, the kind which are used in electric cars.
The NICO mining project has faced delays in the past. Exploration first started in 1997 when several holes were dug. Fortune Minerals, pushed back a start to mining in 2019 after the price of cobalt dropped by more than a fifth.
The company also owns the satellite mine site, the Sue-Dianne Copper-Silver-Gold Deposit, which is located 25 km north of the NICO Project. That site will provide support to the NICO mine’s mill, helping to extend the life of the project.