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Publisher's Note: Today we're bringing you the transcript of Gerardo Del Real's exclusive interview with the President and CEO of First Cobalt (TSX-V: FCC) (OTC: FTSSF), Trent Mell. First Cobalt went through a major three-way merger last year, and has emerged as a — if not the — premier cobalt project.

Cobalt was red hot last year, with prices more than doubling. Demand from power-hungry high-end electronics and electric vehicles will only push prices further upward for years to come.

Read on for a rare insider's perspective of what's to come for both First Cobalt and the global market.

To your wealth,

Nick Hodge Signature

Nick Hodge
Publisher, Outsider Club


Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Outsider Club. Joining me today is president and CEO of First Cobalt Mr. Trent Mell. Trent, how are you this afternoon?

Trent Mell: Hey, Gerardo. Very well and happy New Year to you.

Gerardo Del Real: Happy New Year to you as well. Now the last time we spoke and this is a while back, this was August of last year. You said that the goal of the company... Let me provide some context here. You had just announced a merger. You were merging to become the go-to exploration cobalt company in the space.

You said you wanted scale. You wanted liquidity and you wanted the expertise of the three companies coming together. I have to say, since the last time we spoke and I just touched on this privately off the air, you've done an absolutely brilliant job executing.

Let me start by congratulating you and let me ask you how you feel right now, now that you've traded, that you've seen the run up in the share price and frankly, you've consolidated some of the premier land in North America.

Trent Mell: First off, thank you, Gerardo. I'll say right out of the gate, these are always team efforts and there is a big team here. I'm just the head cheerleader, I suppose. The goal of that three-way merger that we announced over the summer was to consolidate the camp and to get scale. 

Coming out of that transaction, we expected to have a minimum market cap in Canadian dollars of $150 million. As we sit here today early January, we're just north of $300, probably closer to $330 million in market cap. 

The market response has been good. It's three things. It's the land package that we've managed to pull together in a near town called coincidentally, Cobalt, Ontario.

It's the team we've got. All of us in management alone have over 100 years of mining experience. Our board's got another 150 or so. These are people that are not promoters. We've all been involved around the world in exploring, developing, and operating assets. 

Then the last is just the market. I mean, the market for cobalt is red hot. There's a dearth of opportunities outside the Congo. EV projections just keep going up. On the buy side, whether you're a retailer or a big institutional fund, it's really hard to get exposure to a large liquid, credible cobalt story. I think we decided we delivered on that objective. The pressure, how I feel right now, the pressure is on us now to execute.

Last year was really about laying the foundation, putting the company together. We now sit here with what I would argue is the best prospective land position certainly in North America, if not the world, and $30 million in the bank. There's going to be a lot of activity. The first cobalt is ahead as we get busy rolling and doing other prospecting activities, not just in our camp, but also beyond.

Gerardo Del Real: Well that cobalt, that historic Canadian cobalt camp, was actually a silver camp at one point, wasn't it?

Trent Mell: That's correct. It was in the 1920s. It was arguably the world's largest silver camp. What we have, going through the archives 110 years later, 50 years, really, since any meaningful activity had taken place. What we have identified is the so-called failed silver mines invariably had more cobalt than they had silver. 

So, you've got these carbonate veins. They were just mining these things, just narrow underground deposits. They would typically mine these veins that were rich in silver. When they were getting into zones that were higher in cobalt content they would basically wither away and people didn't mine for that really, in that era. Still produced 50 million pounds of cobalt historically, but 600 million ounces of silver. That was the focus. We're going back now with kind of three different approaches.

One is we're looking for the cobalt content that was ignored in the past.

Second, we're looking for big bulk mining opportunities. Not narrow vein, but bigger mines that you would see in the current era.

And thirdly, this acquisition, this three-way merger and all the work we did last year allowed us to consolidate almost half the camp. You can start to look at regional formations and structures and opportunities where before everybody had this tiny little postage-size claim that didn't allow them to take a broader view of the camp. 

Gerardo Del Real: You're not looking for cobalt over moose pasture. You're actually looking in an area that's got over 100 past producers throughout. That's an important point to make, Trent. Can you talk about that a bit because that's incredible.

Trent Mell: Sure and if you want to look from open pit perspectives near us, we've got the Canadian Malartic mine that was built years or decades ago by Osisko Mining. Shortly thereafter Detour Lake by Detour Gold, these were two operations that are massive open pit operations that were basically rediscovered over, under, and around old underground mine workings.

So, we're taking that same approach in the cobalt camp. I did it myself with a company called Falco on an underground deposit called the Horn Mine where the Noranda Mining company was effectively born. Now, there are countless other examples. Young Davidson, when I was at AuRico Gold. It was another underground variant. Instead of going to an old mine and again, looking at bigger broader scopes and higher kind of job operations. There's tons of examples of this.

You find an old mine... Where the old mine once stood or in the shadow there of. In our case, our footprint has 50 past producing mines. Some of them were pretty tiny. But yeah, you're right, Gerardo. We're talking about a camp here that has a rich history, but a rich history that hasn't really been explored for decades.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, along with that rich history, you also benefit from over $100 million in existing infrastructure. Can you talk a bit about that, Trent?

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