Pacific Rim Cobalt Provides Update to Shareholders on 2018 Progress
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 08, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. (the “Company” or “Pacific Rim Cobalt”) (CSE: BOLT) (FRANKFURT: NXFE) (OTCQB: PCRCF) a Company focused on developing nickel / cobalt opportunities in Indonesia is pleased to provide an update detailing the milestones and growth initiatives accomplished throughout 2018 and strategic goals for 2019.
During 2018 the Company’s primary objectives included exploration of its Cyclops Nickel-Cobalt Project, Jayapura Province, Indonesia (the “Project”). The Project benefits from existing permitting (Environmental and Mining), comprehensive and dependable local infrastructure, extensive historical testing with over 850 drill holes and is strategically located on tide-water in South-East Asia.
Throughout 2018 Company representatives conducted extensive community consultation with local stakeholders as well as regional government officials. These discussions resulted in overwhelming support for the Company’s plans to advance the Cyclops Project.
In particular, finalization of the necessary agreements to access northern areas of the Cyclops Project containing the majority of the historically identified mineralized zones was achieved. While awaiting access, the Company was able to complete topographic and photographic surveys, mapping, sampling and a mini-bulk sample within the mineralized zones. The Company also conducted a small-scale program in the previously unexplored far southern area of the site which yielded continued yet reduced mineralization.
In November, Pacific Rim Cobalt was delighted to announce strong results from a mini-bulk sample at the Cyclops Project (for further information, please refer to the Company’s announcement of November 15, 2018). The promising results bolstered the Company’s long-held views that the shallow nature of the mineralization lends itself to low-cost, logistically straightforward drilling.
The Company is currently drilling and extracting additional mini bulk samples for further metallurgical testing.
During July 2018 Pacific Rim Cobalt entered into a preliminary offtake agreement with Beijing Easpring Material Technology Co., Ltd. (“Easpring”), a leading specialized supplier of cathode material for lithium ion batteries to industry giants such as Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, SK Continental and BYD (for further information, please refer to the Company’s announcement of July 11, 2018). Easpring engages in the research, development, production and sale of energy materials and is recognized as a leader in its industry, supplying five of the world’s six largest lithium battery manufacturers. Easpring’s purchasing director, Jashon Guan, commented that their partnership with Pacific Rim Cobalt is “an important part of Beijing Easpring’s strategy.”
In July, the company engaged an extractive technology and mineral process development partner to assist in selecting the optimal process for recovery of cobalt and nickel from laterite material. The results of initial scoping tests demonstrated the consistent effectiveness of our processing partner’s leach technology in the extraction of value elements from the laterite samples tested (for further information, please refer to the Company’s announcement of July 17, 2018).
In June Pacific Rim Cobalt established an operations office in the capital city of Jayapura and a field operations facility in Sentani, located 40km and 15km from the Cyclops Project respectively. These outposts act as a suitable complement to the Company’s Jakarta office which handles exploration support services as well as finance and accounting.
June also saw the opening of a development office in the Jing’an commercial district of Shanghai, headed by James Foster. Shanghai was specifically chosen as China is aggressively leading the world in the battery sector and is equally forceful in its determination to build a robust supply chain. The Shanghai office represents an opportunity to forge lasting relationships and strategic partnerships at a time when Chinese companies are increasingly seeking to diversify their supply away from Africa.
The year ahead
The year ahead will prove to be even busier than 2018, as the company aims to complete its maiden resource estimate at Cyclops in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, finalize studies and testing on processing options, undertake economic studies to optimize its development plan, confirm the optimal processing method for the site’s resources and commence formal negotiations with Easpring in relation to a binding offtake agreement for nickel and cobalt sulphates. The Company is excited about the work ahead, assured in its ability to continue meeting its key developmental milestones and confident in its capacity to create outstanding long-term value for its shareholders.
EV Metals Market Facts
- Indonesia is outstandingly well-placed to support burgeoning Chinese demand and the move has strong government support, with Indonesian Maritime Minister, Luhut Pandjaitan stating that Indonesia will “become the main player in lithium batteries” and that it will “control the world market”. January 2019 will also see the development of a US$4bn EV project on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, backed by a consortium of investors from China, Japan and South Korea. Indonesia, rich in reserves of both nickel and cobalt is well-positioned to supply the EV market. Sumitomo Metal Mining also announced it will spend US$1.8bn to set up a nickel smelter in Indonesia to meet the fast-growing demand in the country.
- Capital Economics expects cobalt prices to reach US$70,000 per tonne by mid-2019 and US$80,000 by the end of 2020. The near-universal view from market analysts is that global cobalt demand will rise significantly in the coming years in tandem with the growth of the EV market. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the boom in electric cars could more than quadruple current demand for cobalt to over 450,000 tonnes per annum by 2030, from less than 100,000 tonnes in 2017.
- According to BMI Research, annual nickel production should reach 2.9 million tonnes by 2027. CRU Group predicts that by 2030, the required global supply of all types of nickel will increase by 55%.
- Demand for commodities continues to be strong and is supported by solid economic performance in major economies across the developed and developing world. As the scale of market penetration and investment in the EV market increases in the coming years, the increasing demand for the Company’s minerals is expected to rapidly accelerate. Anticipated future inflation and higher interest rates also provide for a positive outlook on commodities as an asset class.
- Global automaker investments in EVs now total more than US$90bn, with at least US$19bn attributed to the US, $21bn to China and $52bn to Germany. CRU predict that EVs will account for 30% of sales by 2030, up from just 2% in 2020 – a staggering CAGR of above 30% over this period. If EVs account for 30% of automobile sales, this will require an estimated additional 1.1 million tons of nickel and 314kt of cobalt. From approximately 50,000 EV sales in 2012 and 3.2 million EV sales in 2017, EVs are forecast to increase up to 36 million units in 2030. On average, each EV requires an estimated 8kg of cobalt and 30kg of nickel. EV manufacturers are increasingly looking to secure their procurement of essential raw materials through the entire supply chain all the way down to the level of the mine.
- Chinese companies already control approximately 60% of the world’s lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity. The country boasts a wealth of leading battery manufacturers, including Beijing Easpring, BYD, CATL, Guoxuan High-Tech, Lishen, CBAK, CALB and Wanxiang. China has become a leader in the push for rapid EV take-up, with new subsidies in China prioritizing pure EVs with higher driving ranges and energy density – advantages provided by cobalt and nickel. New energy vehicle sales already topped 1 million in 2018. This has led to an explosion in demand for the raw materials supporting the EV market – the race to secure consistent and dependable cobalt and nickel supply chains can be seen in the recent trend for Chinese offtakers to enter into pre-production offtake agreements.
Pacific Rim Cobalt’s management in pleased to have established a presence in Indonesia; a strategically-located, ethical jurisdiction within the geographic sphere of China, the dominant EV market player on the planet. Current market trends continue to support the Company’s strategy as it undertakes its multi-faceted growth initiatives in 2019.
As CEO of Pacific Rim Cobalt, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow directors, managers and employees for their hard work and their shared commitment to the Company’s success in a year that has been marked not just by challenging market conditions, but by extraordinary progress towards realizing the Company’s potential. I would also like to thank all of our investors for their continued support.
About Pacific Rim Cobalt
Pacific Rim Cobalt is a Canadian-based exploration company focused on the acquisition and development of production grade cobalt and nickel deposits, key raw material inputs for the growing lithium-ion battery industry. Visit https://pacificrimcobalt.com/ to find out more.
Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp.
Ranjeet Sundher – President and CEO
Steve Vanry – CFO & Director
Sean Bromley – Director & Investor Contact
Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange nor the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Statements in this news release that are forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors disclosed both here and elsewhere in Pacific Rim Cobalt’s periodic filings with Canadian securities regulators. When used in this news release, words such as “will”, “plan”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “potential”, “should,” and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. Information provided in this document is necessarily summarized and may not contain all available material information.
Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements regarding future-oriented events and other statements that are not facts. Forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by management based on the business and markets in which Pacific Rim Cobalt operates, are inherently subject to significant operational, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies.
Such forward-looking statements should therefore be construed in light of such factors.
Although Pacific Rim Cobalt has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, there can be other factors that cause results, performance or achievements not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate or that management’s expectations or estimates of future developments, circumstances or results will materialize.
Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this news release are made as of the date of this news release, and Pacific Rim Cobalt disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise such information, except as required by applicable law or securities regulators, and Pacific Rim Cobalt does not assume any liability for disclosure relating to any other company herein.