EVs are Expected to Provide a Surge to the Lithium-ion Battery Market

FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary

NEW YORK, June 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

According to the data compiled by Research and Markets, the Global Lithium-Ion Battery market was valued at USD 26.4 Billion in 2016 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15.5% during the forecast period, from 2017 to 2025. The market has seen a strong increase in demand due to its adoption in various rechargeable consumer electronics and the emergence of electric vehicles (EVs). Consumer electronics currently continue to drive the market in terms of revenue, but the EV boom is expected to overtake its place. The growth of EVs is largely attributable to government regulations aimed at combating environmental concerns by reducing harmful emissions. Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. (OTC: PCRCF), Lundin Mining Corp. (OTC: LUNMF), First Cobalt Corp. (OTC: FTSSF), eCobalt Solutions, Inc. (OTC: ECSIF), Panasonic Corp. (OTC: PCRFY)

In a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, data forecasts that global EVs are expected to increase to 11 Million by 2025 and increase to 30 Million by 2030. China is expected to lead the transition, with sales accounting for 50% of the market. Jim Burkhard, who heads oil research as well as energy and mobility research at IHS Markit, explained, according to CNBC, "We have [electric vehicles] going up to be 30 percent of new car sales by 2040 from 1 percent now… Each year it will impact more and more…There's no doubt about that but the bigger demand story is fuel economy. EVs on their own are not disruptive."

Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. (OTCQB: PCRCF) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange as (CSE: BOLT). Just earlier today, the company announced breaking news that, "a resource company with assets located proximal to the world's largest cobalt market, today announced the commencement of drilling activities at its Cyclops Cobalt-Nickel Project (formerly known as the TNM Project) located in Papua Province, Indonesia. The Cyclops Cobalt-Nickel Project, recently renamed for its close proximity to the Cyclops mountain range, is situated on the north coast of Papua Province, Indonesia, a country ranked among the largest hosts of nickel laterite occurrences in the world. The project's tidewater location offers strategic access to China, the largest battery metals markets in the world.

Pacific Rim Cobalt's efforts will focus both on historically identified and drill-tested prospects as well as previously un-drilled prospects. The goal of the program is to establish a maiden compliant resource on the project as well as to identify target locations for extraction of mini bulk samples required for upcoming metallurgical and process testing. The program will be ongoing and during the next 6 months is scheduled to include approximately 150 holes totaling 5,000 meters of drilling.

"With the commencement of our inaugural drill program guided by historical data, we are optimistic about the unique possibility of developing this project into an asset that will add shareholder value and position the company to play a future role in the battery metals supply chain," remarked Ranjeet Sundher, CEO of Pacific Rim Cobalt. "We expect the near-surface nature of cobalt/nickel mineralization at the Cyclops project will lend itself well to low-cost, logistically straightforward drilling. Thus, we anticipate the opportunity to undertake a resource calculation study, as well as ongoing metallurgy and process option testing, will present itself in the near future. It's going to be a busy year ahead, and we look forward to getting the drills turning and building value."

The project area benefits from excellent infrastructure including proximity to a workforce and supplies, sealed roads, ocean access, electrical grid power, nearby port facility and gentle topography. The road system enables year-round access to the project and connects it with the large town of Sentani, located about 15 kilometres to the east, and with Jayapura, the capital city of Papua province, located about 40 kilometres to the east. Drilling will consist of shallow holes (up to 35-metre vertical depth each), which, based on historical information, is sufficient to intersect both the upper, limonite zone, as well as the lower nickel saprolite zone. The Cyclops project was extensively explored by previous operators with a focus on nickel mineralization, during which time they completed 856 drill holes and 26 test pits. The Company has also begun detailed drone-controlled topographic and photographic surveys. This information will provide control for ongoing development activities that include geological mapping, test pitting and diamond drilling…

About Cobalt and Nickel - Cobalt, a key ingredient in electric car batteries, has quadrupled in price in the last two years. Chinese new electric vehicle subsidies prioritize pure electric vehicles with higher driving ranges and energy density, two of the main advantages of cobalt and nickel. According to Bloomberg: "China is leaving the West behind in the race for electric-car raw materials. China is first out of the blocks in the global race to secure raw material supplies critical for the batteries that will power the electric vehicles of the future."

The Financial Post reports in its Wednesday ( 2018-05-23) edition that Cobalt 27 Capital (KBLT on the TSXV) agreed to pay $145-million (Canadian) for the right to the cobalt and nickel from the Ramu mine in Papua New Guinea, marking the first streaming deal of its kind in the battery-metals space. According to BMI Research (http://www.mining.com/indonesia-lead-nickel-production-bmi/), by 2027 global annual nickel production should reach 2.9mnt. In the firm's view, Indonesia would continue to lead the way after having surpassed the Philippines as the largest global producer in 2017. This transcontinental country will also be the best performing one in terms of nickel production growth during 2018-2027 thanks in part to the moderation of its export ban. Throughout the period 2018-2027, BMI sees Indonesia's nickel industry growing production by 8.1%, in part benefiting from stricter environmental regulations in its biggest regional competitor, the Philippines. This development would increase the rate at which Indonesia regains part of the Chinese market share it had previously lost to its neighbour.

Historical Estimate - A historical estimate, which dates from before the requirement for uniform regulatory compliance and therefore fails to meet the current standards of National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), is being referenced as a guide for Pacific Rim Cobalt's 2018 work program. This early data employed measurements still in use today and indicated mineralization from surface with an estimated potential of 37 million tonnes of 0.11 per cent cobalt and 1.31 per cent nickel at a 0.8-per-cent-nickel-cut-off grade. The Company intends to validate the resource and, where possible, expand upon the historical estimate, as only five of the nine known cobalt/nickel occurrences were the subject of the historical studies. The Company affirms this data in no way implies an estimated resource valuation but are offered as a basis for its current exploratory efforts and approach.

Pacific Rim Cobalt considers the cobalt and nickel tonnage and grade estimates contained herein to be historical estimates. The historical estimates are contained in the summary geologic investigations, PT Pacific Nikkel Indonesia 1969 (Reynolds, 1979). These historical estimates do not use categories that conform to current CIM (Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum) definition standards on mineral resources and mineral reserves as outlined in National Instrument 43-101 and have not been redefined to conform to current CIM definition standards. These estimates were prepared in the 1980s prior to the adoption and implementation of NI 43-101. A qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimates as current mineral resources, and Pacific Rim Cobalt is not treating the historical estimates as current mineral resources. More work, including, but not limited to drilling will be required to conform the estimates to current CIM definition standards. Investors are cautioned that the historical estimates do not mean or imply that economic deposits exist on the Company's project. Efforts to obtain any additional information regarding relevant historical work are continuing, although there are no assurances that these original data will be found. Pacific Rim Cobalt believes that the historical estimates are relevant to continuing exploration on the project. For more information, please refer to the technical report, filed on SEDAR on Dec. 8, 2017, and available under the company's profile at SEDAR.

Qualified Person - Garry Clark, PGeo, independent director of Pacific Rim Cobalt, is the qualified person as defined in NI 43-101, who has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical content in this presentation."

Lundin Mining Corp. (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. Additionally, Lundin Mining holds an indirect 24% equity stake in the Freeport Cobalt 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. The Freeport Cobalt refinery has been in operation since 1968 and has an experienced management team, over 400 employees and global sales and marketing footprint that services approximately 500 customers in over 50 countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

First Cobalt Corp. (OTCQX: FTSSF) is a vertically integrated North America pure-play cobalt company. The Company recently announced that drill results from the Iron Creek Project in Idaho, USA, continue to extend cobalt mineralization in the Waite Zone by an additional 50 meters to the west as well as to surface. The Waite Zone lies south and parallel to the historic No Name Zone. Mineralization has also been intercepted beyond the footwall of the Waite Zone, providing new targets for future drilling. Highlights include, high-grade intercepts that occur within longer intervals of mineralization including 0.52% Co and 1.10% Cu over 4.6 metres within 37.8 metres grading 0.12% Co and 0.41% Cu in the Waite Zone; Several mineralized intercepts were found in the footwall of the Waite Zone, including 0.33% Co over 10.2 metres, reflecting new mineralization that will be tested in follow up drilling; Drill results have extended the Waite Zone to surface and by an additional 50 metres to the west for a total strike length of 520 metres; Metallurgical study commenced to assess concentration methods and resulting recoveries for cobalt and copper. Trent Mell, President & Chief Executive Officer, commented: "The outlook for the cobalt market remains strong even though the market has taken a pause. Although lithium, cobalt and graphite stocks are down over the past three months, assertions that cobalt will soon be replaced in electric vehicles cannot be substantiated. The growing EV market will underpin a well-supported view that cobalt production will remain in a deficit position in the years ahead.

eCobalt Solutions, Inc. (OTCQX: ECSIF) is a well-established Toronto Stock Exchange listed company committed to providing clean cobalt products essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors. eCobalt Solutions Inc. provided an update on June 25th, 2018 on the status of the Optimized Feasibility Study ("OFS") and on progress of project financing for the Company's 100% owned Idaho Cobalt Project ("ICP"), located near the town of Salmon, in the heart of the Idaho Cobalt Belt. The ICP remains the sole, near-term environmentally permitted primary cobalt deposit in the United States. Metallurgical optimization testing continues on ore material from the ICP's Ram deposit with over 8 tons of ore used to advance this test work. As previously disclosed, laboratory-scale testing successfully demonstrated that ICP ore was amenable to arsenic removal from concentrates by conventional roasting methods, in line with the Company's direction to produce a clean (low arsenic content) cobalt concentrate product, an upstream precursor material for battery cathode production. Pilot level testing typically follows laboratory and bench scale test work on a feasibility level to reduce risk and add confidence in the final design of processing equipment. Significant progress has been made on project finance and off-take arrangements. The ICP's cobalt concentrate is unique compared to standard cobalt concentrates where cobalt comes as a by-product to other commodities. This has generated long-term partnership opportunities with counterparties for whom the Company's product complements their existing refining capabilities and needs. As such, the Company has been undertaking a thorough evaluation to ensure that the right long-term partner(s) are identified.

Panasonic Corp. (OTC: PCRFY) The company's vision for the future centers on developing products that offer convenience, performance, and sustainability. Panasonic Corporation recently announced that it has developed a glass composite circuit board material (product number: R-1785) suited for automotive and industrial equipment. Mass production is scheduled to start in June 2018. With the ever-increasing use of electronics in vehicles and recent trend toward high functionality of various industrial equipment, electronic circuit boards now require excellent parts mountability and compatibility with high currents. Panasonic has developed a glass composite circuit board material (CEM-3 grade) that achieves the industry's lowest 1 coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) [1] by using its unique manufacturing method and resin design technology, thereby contributing to the improvement of parts mounting reliability and compatibility with high currents for electronic circuit boards.

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