Canadian firm First Cobalt has signed an agreement to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of exploration company US Cobalt in order to strengthen its position.

The C$149.9m ($115m) all-share deal is expected to enhance the company’s cobalt portfolio.

According to the transaction, First Cobalt will issue 1.5 common shares for each US Cobalt common share issued and outstanding.

Once the acquisition is closed, First Cobalt shareholders are set to hold 62.5% of the combined company, while US Cobalt shareholders will own 37.5%.

“US Cobalt’s Idaho project complements our Canadian Cobalt Camp properties, offering upside potential for shareholders of both companies.”

The transaction will give access to projects close to electric vehicle and technology hubs and is consistent with the company’s strategy of growing its footprint in North America.

First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell said: “This transaction creates a larger platform to discover and develop cobalt projects for the growing electric vehicle market by combining high-quality North American assets in two of the best cobalt jurisdictions outside the DRC.”

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The acquired assets include US Cobalt’s Iron Creek cobalt project in Idaho.

Mell added: “US Cobalt’s Idaho project complements our Canadian Cobalt Camp properties, offering upside potential for shareholders of both companies.”

A drilling campaign is scheduled to take place later this year to define maiden mineral resource estimate for the cobalt project.

Subject to US Cobalt shareholder, regulatory approvals and other conditions, the transaction is anticipated to be completed by the end of May.