Traces of cobalt found in Namibia

According to Namibia Rare Earths Inc., a mineral resources exploration company in Namibia, there are possible traces of cobalt in Namibia. This comes after what the company says is detailed analyses of archived soil samples in the Western Targets area which have confirmed "kilometer-scale cobalt anomalies."

According to Namibia Rare Earths, these results confirm kilometer-scale cobalt anomalies previously inferred from a historic regional geochemical survey. Additional results are said to be pending from targets identified along the DOF Extension and the Okanihova Targets. The company says that the next step is for their field teams in Namibia to follow up with geological mapping and rock sampling.

Currently, the Democratic Republic of Congo is the country with the most known reserves of cobalt in the world. Other notable countries in Afrika with significant enough cobalt reserves, but far behind the DRC, are Madagascar, South Africa, and Zambia.

World cobalt reserves as of 2017
World cobalt reserves as of 2017. | Statista

Cobalt is a key part of the electronics and electric vehicles supply chain especially when it comes to batteries. So important is cobalt to the technology ecosystem that in 2017 Volkswagen (VW) started making strategic moves looking to secure supplies of cobalt for the next 10 years as it moves into mass production of electric vehicles.

Namibia Rare Earths is now going to be conducting systematic exploration over an area of 2,142 km2 west of the "newly discovered stratabound Co-Cu discovery of Celsius Resources at Opuwo. The Western Targets area is one of three principal cobalt target areas at Kunene. The three target areas were defined on the basis of soil geochemical surveys by previous workers exploring for copper in 2014 at a regional-scale sample spacing of 1 kilometer (Company press release February 21, 2018). Samples from those surveys were analyzed by ICP, which is an acceptable analytical method for cobalt.

Namibia Cobalt Rare Earths Inc
Comparison of cobalt ICP soil anomalies from regional grid sampled in 2014 (left) and from detailed grid reported March 5, 2018 (right). Regional sample lines are 1 km apart with sample spacing of 1 km. Detailed grid sample lines are 1 km apart with alternating sample spacing of 500 m and 100 m along sample lines. (CNW Group/Namibia Rare Earths Inc.)

Namibia Rare Earths is also systematically re-analyzing this archived database of over 12,000 soil samples to obtain reliable data on cobalt. Regional anomalies are being confirmed by repeat analyses of archived samples using ICP analytical methods for cobalt. Sample preparation and analytical work was provided by Activation Laboratories Ltd. (Windhoek, Namibia and Ancaster, Ontario) employing ICP techniques following strict internal QAQC procedures inserting blanks, standards and duplicates.

As things stand, the quantity of the reserves cannot be conclusively estimated making it difficult to determine whether it is a significant find in comparison with current global reserves. Namibia Rare Earths says that their field teams will thus continue to conduct geological mapping and rock sampling over these anomalous areas.

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