Data Shows Stronger Demand for Lithium and Cobalt

NEW YORK, March 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

According to a research published by Transparency Market Research, the global lithium-ion battery market is expected to reach USD $77.42 billion by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate of 11.6 percent from 2016 to 2024. Increasing use of consumer electronic devices and growing adoption of sustainable clean energy in the automotive sector is expected to drive the market in the coming years. By application, consumer electronics segment is expected to hold the biggest market share during the forecast year. However, it is the growing popularity of Hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs), which is expected to increase demand for lithium-ion batteries at the fastest rate. Cobalt is a crucial component of the lithium-ion battery market. In recent reports CNBC discussed Apple's possible ventures to procure cobalt from mining companies, as it has highlighted a growing concern about the valuable metal's impending supply shortage. First Cobalt Corp. (OTC: FTSSF), Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTC: MLNLF), Cruz Cobalt Corp. (OTC: BKTPF), Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM), Lundin Mining Corporation (OTC: LUNMF)

Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Minerals, explained according to CNBC, "Apple is a buyer of batteries, not a buyer of battery components, and it's a number of steps away from the raw materials side. So this is significant - the reason they're doing it is supply chain visibility... They need to ensure that their cobalt isn't sourced from illegal mining operations, especially those using child labor... It might be a supply concern, but really Apple's biggest concern over the last five years has been where are our components coming from and are they mined and produced responsibly?"

First Cobalt Corp. (OTCQB: FTSSF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol 'FCC'. Just earlier today announced breaking news that, "it has commenced its 2018 borehole geophysical and optical televiewer survey program to test holes drilled in Cobalt South and for the first time in Cobalt North. The borehole program is intended to expand known zones of cobalt mineralization and further define the controlling structures in these two areas. The borehole geophysical data will also be used to assess ground geophysical methods for detecting blind cobalt mineralization elsewhere in the Cobalt Camp. Highlights:

        - Magnetic and electrical rock property measurements will help interpret the
          orientation of mineralized zones intersected, specifically near Kerr Lake area and
          Woods Extension Zone
        - Televiewer images from holes intersecting disseminated silver and cobalt
          mineralization in Keeley South Zone may identify the orientation of faults and
          fractures associated with mineralization where drill core recovery was poor
        - Adapting borehole geophysical data to ground geophysical methods could help detect
          blind cobalt mineralization elsewhere in the Cobalt Camp

Dr. Frank Santaguida, Vice President, Exploration, commented: "Combining survey data with assay results and geological logs allows for quicker assessment and follow-up during the next stage of drilling. Borehole televiewer surveys are a relatively modern mineral exploration tool that will help map previously mined silver vein systems and could spatially define mineralization trends to predict where cobalt mineralization occurs."

The 2018 borehole geophysical and optical televiewer survey program is designed to improve understanding of the controlling structures in the mineralized system as borehole surveys provide more accurate data than surface geophysics and aerial surveys. By improving the understanding of the broader structural environment, First Cobalt anticipates it will be better able predict where other mineralized structures may lie. In 2017, the Company conducted magnetism, resistivity and televiewer surveys on historic holes at the Keeley and Frontier mines in Cobalt South prior to drilling. Magnetic data were used to model the Nipissing Diabase and Archean volcanic rocks in 3D, where outcrops are sparse and in the subsurface below the Huronian sedimentary rocks. Silver-cobalt mineralization typically occurs within a few hundred metres of the Diabase contact, so mapping this contact is important for exploration targeting. Resistivity data for the host rocks to mineralization were used to interpret electromagnetic data within the mineralized zones to determine potential for further mineralization offhole. This method was successfully applied the Keeley South Zone to define new drill targets.

The 2018 geophysical surveys in this program will measure magnetism, resistivity, natural gamma radiation and induced conductivity to characterize mineralized zones and their host rocks. Recent holes drilled at the Kerr Lake area of Cobalt North and the Woods Extension Zone in Cobalt South intersected breccia-hosted sulphide mineralization interpreted to be developed within structures hosting cobalt, silver and nickel. Borehole geophysical surveys have not previously been conducted in Cobalt North. The resistivity and induced conductivity surveys are intended to characterize this style of mineralization and help determine the orientation of the structures. In addition, the results will be used to assess if ground surveys may be applicable for further exploration..."

Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTCQB: MLNLF) is an emerging exploration and development company focused on world class lithium assets in Argentina. On January 31, 2018, the company announced the results of its Preliminary Economic Assessment for the production of lithium carbonate from its Pastos Grandes Project in the province of Salta, Argentina. The PEA was prepared by WorleyParsons Chile S.A., a leading integrated independent engineering services firm with extensive experience in the design and construction of lithium brine projects in Argentina and Chile. The total Direct Capital costs of the Project for 25K TPY production of lithium carbonate are estimated at $301.2 million. The total initial capital costs estimates are $410.2 million which includes Direct Costs, Indirect Costs and Contingency costs of $60.2 million estimated at 20 % of the Direct Costs.

Cruz Cobalt Corp. (OTC: BKTPF) is focused on acquiring and developing high-grade Cobalt projects in politically stable, environmentally responsible and ethical mining jurisdictions, essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors. Recently, the company announced that the company has increased its acreage in the Cobalt District of Ontario. The new acreage is contiguous to the "Lorraine Cobalt Prospect" and now consists of 10,556 contiguous acres bordering First Cobalt Corp. in the direct vicinity of the town of Cobalt, Ontario. Recently (January 22, 2018) Cruz increased its acreage on the "Purcell Cobalt Prospect" from 671 acres to 11,821 acres, consolidating the previous two separate Purcell prospects into one much larger contiguous prospect. Also on January 16, 2018 Cruz increased its landholdings surrounding the War Eagle cobalt prospect in BC. Cruz now has a 100% interest in 15,219 acres on the War Eagle cobalt prospect. Cruz also just recently completed an airborne survey over the War Eagle and Purcell cobalt prospects in BC and uncovered strong magnetic anomalies (announced January 19, 2018). Management is now working diligently on advancing these two BC cobalt prospects.

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM) is an integrated producer and distributor of lithium, iodine, specialty plant nutrients, potassium-related fertilizers and industrial chemicals. On December 20, 2017, the company informed that the Company and its subsidiary SQM Australia Pty, have finalized the purchase of 50% of the assets of the Mount Holland Lithium Project in Australia. This purchase is from MH Gold Pty Ltd, Montague Resources Australia Pty Ltd y Kidman Resources Limited, as the result of compliance of the conditions established in the purchase agreement agreed by the Sellers and informed to the Superintendencia de Valores y Seguros on September 11, 2017. SQM Australia and the Sellers have also signed a joint venture agreement describing the development, construction and mining operations, concentration and refining plants for the production of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. This joint venture agreement will also allow for the exploration and exploitation of Sellers's lithium rights which are not included in the Agreement.

Lundin Mining Corporation (OTC: LUNMF) is a diversified Canadian base metals mining company with operations in Chile, the United States of America, Portugal, and Sweden, primarily producing copper, nickel and zinc. In addition, Lundin Mining holds an indirect 24 percent equity stake in the Freeport Cobalt Oy business, which includes a cobalt refinery located in Kokkola, Finland. The refinery, located on the Baltic Sea in Finland, processes unrefined cobalt and related metals and manufactures advanced inorganic products for use in a variety of applications in fast-growing end use markets. Freeport Cobalt is one of the world's largest suppliers of cobalt chemicals and powders for use in batteries, pigments and ceramics and powder metallurgy.

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