Digging Back to WWII, how Cobalt Demand is Causing Us to Look Through the History Books

Cobalt is primarily mined in the DRC, but recently people have been looking elsewhere; Chileans are looking as far back as WWII. La Cobaltera is a mine in Chile that hasn’t been commercially active since WWII. Drilling has begun and extracted columns show good results for copper and cobalt. Interest for this project started in 2017 when Chilean authorities discovered records in the national geological agency that showed seven million tons of cobalt was mined in Chile between 1844 and 1941. Cobalt was extracted by German immigrants who then sent it to Europe, which was presumably used for military equipment. Now many foreign companies and Chilean intermediaries are looking to buy mining rights from locals; many residents sold their land for less than what it was worth because they didn’t know what it was for. Chilean Cobalt, a subsidiary of Genlith Inc., is the first company to explore for cobalt in the country in over 70 years. The samples show grades of 4-12 % cobalt, compare that to DRC mines that average 2-3% and some junior exploration companies that are looking at grades as low as 0.5%. Preliminary results are very promising, but it won’t come cheap.  Investments for this project are estimated to be between 80 and 100 million, an investment that may be well worth it.

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