European Cobalt (ASX: EUC) has reported “exceptionally” high grade cobalt and nickel from a surface channel sampling program at its Dobsina project in Slovakia.
A road cutting from the project returned 1.2m grading 4.39% cobalt, 6.21% nickel and 1.72% copper, including an intercept of 0.7m grading 7.3% cobalt, 10.45% nickel and 1.72% copper.
The mineralisation has been likened to the Zemberg Vein system which runs through the landholding and previously produced 4% cobalt and 16% nickel.
“The phenomenal grades of cobalt and nickel sulphide mineralisation identified at surface is testimony to the high-grade nature of the targets we are actively pursuing,” European Cobalt managing director Rob Jewson said.
Mr Jewson added a smaller underground diamond drill rig had been mobilised to the zone “as a priority” to test the mineralisation down dip and along strike.
Situated in central Slovakia, European Cobalt’s Dobsina project is near a historical mining town with proximity to rail, power, water and road infrastructure.
After discovery in 1780, nickel and cobalt were mined at the site until the 19th Century, producing 430,000 tonnes of cobalt and nickel, which were shipped to the United Kingdom for smelting.
Under European Cobalt’s exploration program, mapping has identified five element veins hosting cobalt, nickel, copper and silver across 26km of prospective strike at the project.
Meanwhile, recent analysis of waste samples returned up to 3.14% cobalt, 8.57% nickel and 11.1% copper.
Driving the cobalt demand is the lithium-ion battery market, with 75% of lithium-ion batteries forecast to contain cobalt by 2020.
Cobalt is used for boosting energy density in lithium-ion cathodes, which, when used, increases battery life in smartphones, extends the range of electric cars between charges, enables solar and wind energy to be efficiently stored, and offers longer battery life in laptops while allowing them to retain slim designs.
According to European Cobalt, consumption of refined cobalt has surged from 64,000 tonnes in 2010 to a forecast 124,000 tonnes by 2020, with the electric vehicle market accounting for 17% of the demand and electronics 31%.
Focused on exploration in Europe, the company is targeting nearby markets including Tesla’s assembly factory in Netherlands, as well as nearby Samsung and LG facilities in Hungary, Austria and Poland.
As the electric vehicle industry gains momentum, other potential markets include BMW, Jaguar, Nissan, Daimler and Northvolt across the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden.