Artemis’ Carlow Castle shaping up as a ‘significant new cobalt province’
Artemis Resources believes the first cobalt, copper and gold resource it has unveiled for its Carlow Castle project is just the tip of the iceberg.
The company (ASX:ARV) has delivered an indicated and inferred resource of 557,000 tonnes at 1 gram per tonne (g/t) of gold, 0.2 per cent cobalt and 0.5 per cent copper for the smallest deposit, Quod Est.
The resource follows drilling that unearthed high grades of up to 1.94 per cent cobalt, 10.71 g/t of gold and 4.44 per cent copper.
Artemis expects to release another resource for the second and larger of the deposits at the end of January.
The resource is likely to be “significantly larger” than the existing resource of 418,000 tonnes, executive director Ed Mead told Stockhead. “I’d expect that to at least triple,” he said.
“We’ve now got the strike length of Carlow Castle South out to probably a good 1.5 kilometres.”
While Artemis shot onto investors’ radars back in July last year because of its partnership with Canada’s Novo Resources and their discovery of conglomerate gold in the Pilbara, a key focus for the company is cobalt.
“With Novo focusing on conglomerates in our joint venture, it’s up to us to focus on other commodities and obviously cobalt is a good one,” Mr Mead said.
Artemis has identified new drill-ready cobalt, copper and gold targets over 50 sq.km.
“We believe that Carlow Castle has the potential to be a significant new cobalt province in Australia,” executive chairman David Lenigas told investors.
The growing interest in cobalt by junior ASX-listed explorers is being driven by the anticipated growth in demand from the electric vehicle industry. Cobalt is a component of the lithium ion battery technology used in electric cars.
“With the world cobalt prices now at US$75,000 a tonne (nearly A$100,000 a tonne) the overall in situ rock value of cobalt (at 0.05 per cent cobalt cut-off) at our Quod Est deposit, with a grade of 0.3 per cent cobalt, exceeds the combined values of gold at 1.5 g/t gold and copper at 0.6% copper,” Mr Lenigas said.
The cobalt price soared 130 per cent in 2017.
Mr Lenigas said Artemis is already receiving interest from international trading houses for its “conflict-free” cobalt.
The majority of cobalt is currently supplied by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has come under increased scrutiny over the methods used to mine cobalt.
As a result, many players in the industry are now refusing supply from the African nation and are looking to secure cobalt from more ethical jurisdictions such as Australia and Canada.
Artemis believes the grades at Carlow Castle warrant further work.
“That’s why we’ve pushed ahead with drilling and now we think the resource will hopefully come in around about the levels that we think will be economic for an open pit,” Mr Mead told Stockhead.
“We’re lucky we’ve got Radio Hill down the road. We don’t need to build a plant and we can capitalise on it fairly quickly.”
Carlow Castle is located 30 kilometres North East of the Radio Hill plant.