First Cobalt Corp. (TSX-V: FCC, OTCQB: FTSSF) (the “Company”) is pleased to report high grade cobalt from muckpile sampling at the historic Silver Banner mine at the northern part of the Cobalt Camp in Ontario, Canada. These results make Silver Banner an attractive drilling target for 2018 as it confirms the presence of a productive vein system in the underexplored mafic volcanic rocks, similar to that seen at the Bellellen, Keeley and Frontier mines.
- Grab samples from muckpiles by the historic Silver Banner mine returned grades of up to 1.14% cobalt. Highlights include:
- Cobalt-silver-nickel relationship comparable to large mineralized vein systems in the Cobalt Camp such as the Nipissing, Crown Reserve, Kerr Lake and Silverfields mines
- Continued evidence of broader cobalt mineralization in previously overlooked areas of the Cobalt Camp
Trent Mell, President & Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“We have quickly identified several prospective cobalt targets within the First Cobalt, CobalTech and Cobalt One land packages and we are confident others will follow. As with Bellellen and Drummond, the positive results at Silver Banner make it an excellent candidate for additional work. The next task is to prioritize these targets for more focused exploration work and drilling through the winter months.”
The past-producing Silver Banner mine is located in the northern part of the Cobalt Camp (Figure 1). Grab samples from muckpiles found around Silver Banner were collected and analyzed for their metal content to validate historic observations. Sampling of muckpiles containing underground material is viewed as an efficient way to quickly assess the cobalt potential of the area.
Assay results from this sampling program included 1.14%, 0.69% and 0.47% Co, which suggest that an extensive high grade cobalt vein system may exist in this area. Silver Banner was among the smaller historic silver mines, yet the veins contain a cobalt-silver-nickel relationship comparable to some of the larger mineralized vein systems in the Cobalt Camp, such as the Nipissing, Crown Reserve, Kerr Lake and Silverfields mines.
Table 1. Results for Silver Banner Muckpile Grab Samples of Vein Material
Cobalt mineralization occurs within calcite-quartz veins hosted by mafic volcanic rocks. By contrast, high grade silver veins (up to 5,000 oz/ton) in the north end of the Camp were commonly mined in the Huronian metasedimentary rocks such as at the Nipissing and Crown Reserve mines. Veins in the underlying mafic volcanic rocks were often not considered due to lower silver content but have been shown in some cases to be cobalt-rich.
Mining at Silver Banner occurred intermittently from 1927 to 1958, producing approximately 40,000 oz Ag, some Cu and unspecified amounts of Co. First Cobalt believes that the short production history of this mine may be attributed to a cobalt-rich and silver-poor vein system.
Figure 1. Bedrock map of the Silver Banner area with outcrop geology from recent field mapping and government maps
Silver and cobalt minerals predominate at Silver Banner but Cu, Zn, Pb and Fe are also noted. One sample with elevated Co and Cu reflects a similar association described at Bellellen (announced September 2, 2017). Two other samples contained Zn and Pb minerals in quartz-calcite veins similar to those occurring at Keeley-Frontier (announced November 2, 2017). Metal zoning such as that seen at Keeley-Frontier implies a larger hydrothermal footprint occurs than previously described in the Cobalt Camp, providing a larger target for exploration and improving the likelihood of further discovery.
Silver Banner has two historic shafts, the deepest of which is less than 200m. On one level, workings extend southward to connect to the Ophir mine located 400m away. Silver Banner has two recorded vein systems: one trending north with a strike length of 150m and another trending north-west for 250m.
The structural settings of the individual vein systems in the area are complex, requiring more detailed work due to the high grade cobalt potential. Field mapping conducted by First Cobalt of outcrops in the area identified east-west trending folds. The trend of volcanic rocks roughly corresponds to a similar orientation. Interflow metasedimentary rocks are found in the area that also conform to this trend. Both sets of mineralized veins are thought to cut this east-west trend, but these have not been observed in outcrop.
Silver Banner is an attractive target for winter drilling as the assays reported here reflect the presence of a productive vein system in the mafic volcanic rocks, similar to that seen at the Bellellen, Keeley and Frontier mines. This type of mineralization is under-explored in the northern part of the Camp, making this a high priority for immediate work. Follow up work will include shallow drilling near the historic workings to define the orientation of the vein system and test for the metal content of the veins as well as in the footwall and hangingwall rocks.
Similar cobalt mineralization occurs at the nearby historic Ophir mine, so follow-up exploration work is being done over a relatively large area of approximately 25km2. Regional airborne geophysical data, both magnetic and electromagnetic, are being modelled to refine the structural interpretation to areas without outcrops and to identify conductive rock units, such as the interflow metasedimentary rocks that are typically associated with cobalt mineralization elsewhere in the Cobalt Camp.
Silver Banner is currently owned by CobalTech Mining (TSX-V: CSK) and is one of more than 50 historic mines being consolidated by First Cobalt in the Cobalt Camp, Ontario through its the merger transactions with CobalTech and Cobalt One (ASX: CO1).