Just Getting Started: Bankers Cobalt Hits on First Drill Program
Peter Bell, March 19, 2018
The first assays ever released by Bankers Cobalt (TSXV:BANC) are out, and they look like barnburners to me (https://www.bankerscobalt.com/investors/news-releases/bankers-copper-cobalt-discovery/). The company reported results for 12 holes with additional holes being drilled. More is coming soon as drilling is ongoing and picking up speed through 2018.
With the stock down on heavy volume following the news, the knee-jerk reaction seems to have been “where’s the cobalt?” as only 2 of the holes had much cobalt. Hole #5 had 0.37% Co over 1.4 meters at ca. 160 meters and hole #12 had 0.3% over 1 meter at 40 meters, which are good numbers for copper and cobalt in DRC. There were also some high-grade copper numbers in the results.
All of this was expected by the company, as they explain in the release: “In terms of grade and depth, these results appear to be in line with producing mines in the region and follow the regional pattern of high-grade copper with pockets of cobalt.” If you were concerned about the cobalt numbers at Kabolela posted by Bankers, then rest assured that it is typical for the local geology.
The famous Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt project may have some important differences from Kabolela, but the average grades are 2.6% copper and 0.4% cobalt as in this 2015 report (http://www.lundinmining.com/i/pdf/summary_report_tenke_fungurume.pdf). They also mention that an important ratio for copper:cobalt grades is approximately 4-times. Not sure quite how that ratio meant to be used and potential to apply at BANC concessions, but keep in mind as possible heuristic.
Note that these projects in the Copperbelt are very different from the high-grade veins seen in Ontario Cobalt Camp, which can have +2% cobalt over very short intervals but with an overall lower grade. These appear to be very different styles of mineralization and I look forward to further interviews with the Bankers team to unpack this topic in detail.
Screaming assay numbers are good fuel for the Bankers business model, whether they are copper or cobalt numbers! As CEO Stephen Barley said in our interview (http://www.venturecapnews.com/venture-cap-investing-news/deep-dive-mr-stephen-barley-ceo-bankers-cobalt/):
“The Chinese can build a processing facility in around half the time that any North American company could. They also get loans for their capital with low interest rates or no interest. How do you compete with that? You can’t. Kevin looked at it that and developed a business model that we could follow so that we’re not in competition with anybody but are still satisfying a need. What’s our niche? Well, it’s exploration.” – Stephen Barley, CEO Bankers Cobalt
Idea of “systematically applying Canadian exploration standards” over 400 square kilometers of land in the heart of the southern DRC Cobaltbelt is very exciting. Need to be a contrarian to like cobalt in the Congo right now, which is even better.
Stephen’s point that the Chinese can build a mine quicker than Western companies today is particularly interesting when you consider these before/after photos from Lundin Mining at Tenke Fungurume:
What a success story.
It’s sure been possible to make major progress quickly in DRC in recent years. The threat of changes to the status quo have sucked the wind out of many players, but I see Bankers flying underneath the radar with their plan to do good exploration work and sell pounds to processors in-country.
The recent turmoil in DRC may even be positive for Bankers as chaos creates opportunity for a nimble junior miner with strong local connections. The company has addressed this issue head-on in a recent news release (https://www.bankerscobalt.com/investors/news-releases/bankers-positive-view-on-drc/) and I encourage you to contact them directly if you want to know more.
Bankers’ first assays found high-grade copper and cobalt on a previously unexplored concession during their first drilling campaign. They have another set of assays coming soon from the same drill program, which was completed during the worst time of the year for field work and then they’re on to more drilling.
The major goal for this first program is to demonstrate type of mineralization at this concession. They want information on the “orientation, width, and strike length of the mineralization”, which is precisely the kind of thing they should be doing based on their business model. The mines nearby Kabolela will help give some sense for what local operators consider “good enough” grades, although it may be a challenge for us to get much detailed information about that publicly.
We do have some good, preliminary public information on the geology at Kabolela. The “two sub-parallel fault hosted zones” jumped out at me in the assay table. Did you see the two mineralized intervals in holes 1, 2, 4, and 5? They start out very close together but spread out at depth. Great to see them close together at surface as it may setup a two-for-one mining scenario!
What’s more, it sounds like they had some flashy core in this first round with “minor native copper, chalcopyrite, malachite and azurite” in drill hole #12 over a 6-meter wide zone of carbonate-altered breccia. Sounds like the right kind of rocks.
And if you look closely at the map provided by Bankers in the news release, you can see a pit marked just off the south-western edge of the Kabolela concession. That area looks to be approximately 2 kilometers south of the current drilling area with different rocks, but I would watch for them to do something interesting there.
You can see some of this for yourself in a map I prepared here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1YDgqjuLSb2jzZ1AYyxUmC0dJBj965hNE With the road and other mines nearby, you can easily see why the company started drilling here at Kabolela.
At end of our first interview (http://www.venturecapnews.com/venture-cap-investing-news/deep-dive-mr-stephen-barley-ceo-bankers-cobalt/), I told Mr. Barley that it looked like Bankers Cobalt was very careful about how they entered started their business and could just imagine the good things they work into deal structures when it comes time to sell some of their projects. He replied, “That’s some ways off, but it’s probably coming quicker than most people would imagine.”
I think that comment is all the more clear with results like this.
Find out more on company website: https://www.bankerscobalt.com/
Banker’s Cobalt Corp. (TSXV: BANC) is featured in Stockpools’ latest contest: The Cobalt Boom! They’re awarding $2,500 to the winners of this contest over 9 weeks, with a winner each week! Stockpools is free to join, free to play, and free to win. Join here. This is a great way to track Banker’s Cobalt over the course of the contest and keep up to date with their progress. Contest starts April 23rd, 2018.
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