Cobalt – The metal of the future
By: Galit Solomon
Company: Global Energy Metals Corp, TSXV:GEMC | OTCQB:GBLEF
President & CEO: Mitchell Smith (Smith is also COO & Director of Panther Metals)
Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Number of locations: 3 assets – (Flagship) Millennium Cobalt Project in Queensland, Australia, Werner Lake Project in NW Ontario, Canada and Lovelock & Treasure Box Projects in Nevada, USA
In current role: 3 years
Place of birth: Duncan, British Columbia, Canada
Prior job: Corporate Development at Global Cobalt Corp.
A niche metal that flew under the radar for years is making a name for itself in battery production, primarily for cell phones, computers and electric vehicles (EV). “Cobalt is one of the core metals increasingly crucial to the battery supply chain for EVs and some electronics,” highlights President and CEO of Global Metals Energy Corp (GEMC), Mitchell Smith. The Vancouver based company that focuses on exploration and growth-stage cobalt assets, was launched a decade ago.
The need for this metal that will help shape how people get around and communicate is becoming more and more evident. It’s a simple case of supply and demand, explains Smith. “Supply is challenged, with the majority of the world’s cobalt originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Diversification of supply is critical and GEMC offers exposure to high quality cobalt projects in top-tier jurisdictions.”
The company’s flagship asset is the Millennium Cobalt Project located in Mount Isa, Australia. In addition, GEMC owns two discovery stage exploration projects in the same area – Cobalt Ridge and Mount Dorothy. And there’s more. “We own 70% of the past producing Werner Lake Project in northwestern Ontario, Canada. And we also entered into an agreement to acquire the Nevada based Lovelock and Treasure Box Cobalt projects.” The latter two assets are just 150 kilometres away from the Tesla Gigafactory – no doubt, a strategic move.
Three main reasons top Smith’s list for why the time is now to invest in this more obscure metal category. “The EV revolution is upon us and cobalt is key. We’re in the midst of a global battery arms raise in the wake of a wall of electric vehicle demand.” Smith also cites the location of GEMC’s flagship asset. “Australia is a very stable and safe jurisdiction in which to operate, compared to many other major cobalt deposits around the world.” Likewise, so is North America. Finally, taking a glass-half-full approach to current market conditions, Smith says the price point makes GEMC an irresistible stock for investors. “Having a diversified source of lower cost assets that are largely economic based on the cobalt content give GEMC significant upside.”
Smith recognized the opportunity cobalt presented a decade ago, entering the space at a time when the future of Cobalt was still uncertain. “It was the ‘What If’ that was alluring. What if political disrupt occurred again in the DRC, the world’s largest producer of cobalt? What if cobalt demand was unsurpassed by its by-product copper/nickel production? What if Elon Musk was right and EVs become the norm? We needed to have a vehicle in place that could provide investors with a way to capitalize on what has become a perfect storm event. GEMC provides that opportunity for our shareholders.”
Like most junior mining sector companies, access to capital is the main challenge facing GEMC. “While we are unable to control equity market volatility and broader market sentiment, we remain steadfast in our commitment to building a cobalt supply company providing our investors and stakeholders investment exposure to the electric vehicle and battery storage markets. In times like this, companies need to be creative and it is exactly why we surround ourselves with a strong team and partners that can implement strategies that continue moving the company forward.”
Smith reminds potential investors that while roughly half of currently produced cobalt is being used to power up batteries, the metal has a number of other important uses. Among them, it can be used in aerospace rotating parts, defence, power generation, thermal sprays, prosthetics and jet turbines to name a few. “The sector has just begun scratching the surface. The opportunities are limitless.”