Transition to Electric Vehicles driving year on year and projected cobalt demand growth
LONDON, Ontario — Fortune Minerals Limited (TSX: FT) (OTCQB: FTMDF) (“Fortune” or the “Company”) ( www.fortuneminerals.com) is pleased to provide a summary of the key highlights from the Cobalt Institute’s (“CI”) Cobalt Market Report 2021 (access report here) released this week. The CI is a trade organization promoting the sustainable and responsible production and use of cobalt with member companies comprised of producers, developers, users, traders, and recyclers of cobalt metals and chemicals. The Cobalt Market Report 2021 confirms cobalt’s essential role in diverse industrial applications, and particularly as an enabler of the green economy transition and innovation of rechargeable battery technologies supporting accelerating global electric vehicle (“EV”) sales. Fortune’s NICO Cobalt-Gold-Bismuth-Copper Project (“NICO Project”) is a Canadian, vertically integrated, Critical Minerals development and one of the few cobalt assets in the world that can be developed in the timeframe needed to meet today’s cathode chemistries in rechargeable batteries used in EV’s, portable electronics and stationary storage cells.
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Robin Goad, Fortune’s President and CEO, commented, “The transition to a low carbon economy is picking up as world leaders adopt net zero targets and efforts grow to transform the automotive industry to electric vehicles. The Cobalt Institute’s Cobalt Market Report 2021 is an independently authored and comprehensive analysis of the essential role cobalt plays in the growing green economy.”
Cobalt Market Report 2021 Highlights:
- 31,600 metric tonne (“Mt”) (22%) year on year (“y/y”) demand growth to 175,000 Mt
- Estimated market value of US$8.4 billion;
- Projected 12.7% CAGR demand growth to 320,000 Mt by 2026;
- Lithium-ion batteries accounted for 65% of cobalt demand with 85% y/y growth;
- EV’s are now the largest cobalt end use with 34% of market demand;
- Sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid EV’s totaled 6.7 million units globally, up 102% y/y;
- The percentage of new battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle sales was 26% in China, 19% in western Europe, and 5% in North America in Q4 2021, indicative of an accelerating EV adoption rate;
- Nickel- and cobalt-based battery cathodes dominate the EV market (75%) leveraging their superior energy density, performance and recyclability;
- 26% of cobalt demand was in batteries used in mobile phones with 12% y/y growth;
- Drones are the second fastest growing non-EV sector accounting for 5% of cobalt demand growth from lithium-ion batteries;
- Non battery applications for cobalt chemicals include pigments, catalysts, tires, inks, driers and food additives, whereas cobalt metals are consumed in cemented carbides, alloys, diamond tools, and magnets;
- Cobalt mine supply grew to 165,000 Mt, 74% of which (118,000 Mt) was mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo;
- Cobalt refinery production continues to be dominated by China with 104,000 Mt (72%) of total primary refined cobalt;
- Cobalt cathodes were selling at ~US$32/lb at the end of 2021 and the price is currently ~US$40/lb.
Fortune has expended more than C$137 million to advance the NICO Project from an in-house discovery to a near-term producer with 20-years of Mineral Reserve containing three Critical Minerals (cobalt, bismuth and copper) and more than 1.1 million ounces of in-situ gold. The NICO Project is comprised of a planned mine and mill in Canada’s Northwest Territories (“NWT”) and a related hydrometallurgical refinery in Alberta to process metal concentrates from the mine to cobalt sulphate, gold doré, bismuth ingots and oxide, and copper. The Company has received environmental assessment approval and the Type “A” Water License to construct and operate the mine in the NWT. The recent completion of the C$200 million Tlicho Highway to the community of Whati is a key enabler for the NICO Project. This highway, together with the spur road to the mine that Fortune plans to construct, will allow metal concentrates to be trucked to the railway at Hay River or Enterprise, NWT for delivery to the Company’s proposed Alberta refinery.
For more detailed information about the NICO Mineral Reserves and certain technical information in this news release, please refer to the Technical Report on the NICO Project, entitled “Technical Report on the Feasibility Study for the NICO-Gold-Cobalt-Bismuth-Copper Project, Northwest Territories, Canada”, dated April 2, 2014 and prepared by Micon International Limited which has been filed on SEDAR and is available under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com.
The disclosure of scientific and technical information contained in this news release has been approved by Robin Goad, M.Sc., P.Geo., President and Chief Executive Officer of Fortune, who is a “Qualified Person” under National Instrument 43-101.
About Fortune Minerals:
Fortune is a Canadian mining company focused on developing the NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper Critical Minerals project in the NWT and Alberta. Fortune also owns the satellite Sue-Dianne copper-silver-gold deposit located 25 km north of the NICO Deposit and is a potential future source of incremental mill feed to extend the life of the NICO mill and concentrator.
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This press release contains forward-looking information and forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities legislation. This forward-looking information includes statements with respect to, among other things, the Company’s ability to raise additional capital, the purchase of the industrial site on which the Company presently intends to construct the hydrometallurgical refinery for the NICO Project, the repayment or restructuring of the Company’s current debt, the development of the NICO Project, the potential for expansion of the NICO Deposit and statements regarding drill results and future drilling and assays. Forward-looking information is based on the opinions and estimates of management as well as certain assumptions at the date the information is given (including, in respect of the forward-looking information contained in this press release, assumptions regarding: the Company’s ability to successfully raise the necessary capital to meet its corporate objectives in both the near and long term; the successful exercise by the Company its option to purchase the industrial site on which it intends to construct a NICO Project refinery; the completion of construction of a NICO Project refinery; the ability to arrange the necessary financing to continue operations and develop the NICO Project; the support of the federal and/or provincial government for the NICO Project; the receipt of all necessary regulatory approvals for the construction and operation of the NICO Project and the related hydrometallurgical refinery and the timing thereof; growth in the demand for cobalt; the time required to construct the NICO Project; and the economic environment in which the Company will operate in the future, including the price of gold, cobalt and other by-product metals, anticipated costs and the volumes of metals to be produced at the NICO Project). However, such forward-looking information is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. These factors include the risks that the Company may not be able to finance and develop the NICO Project on favourable terms or at all, the 2021 drill program may not result in a meaningful expansion of the NICO Deposit, the effects of a global market downturn, pressure on commodities prices, and/or the COVID-19 on the Company’s capital raising efforts, the Company may not be able to complete the purchase of the industrial site located in in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland northeast of Edmonton and secure a site for the construction of a refinery, uncertainties with respect to the receipt or timing of required permits, approvals and agreements for the development of the NICO Project, including the related hydrometallurgical refinery, the construction of the NICO Project may take longer than anticipated, the Company may not be able to secure offtake agreements for the metals to be produced at the NICO Project, the Company’s Sue-Dianne Property may not be developed to the point where it can provide mill feed to the NICO Project, the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties and in the mining industry in general, the market for products that use cobalt or bismuth may not grow to the extent anticipated, the future supply of cobalt and bismuth may not be as limited as anticipated, the risk of decreases in the market prices of cobalt, bismuth and other metals to be produced by the NICO Project, discrepancies between actual and estimated Mineral Resources or between actual and estimated metallurgical recoveries, uncertainties associated with estimating Mineral Resources and Reserves and the risk that even if such Mineral Resources prove accurate the risk that such Mineral Resources may not be converted into Mineral Reserves once economic conditions are applied, the Company’s production of cobalt, bismuth and other metals may be less than anticipated and other operational and development risks, market risks and regulatory risks. Readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information because it is possible that predictions, forecasts, projections and other forms of forward-looking information will not be achieved by the Company. The forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update or revise it to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.