First Cobalt Plans to Restart Refinery

First Cobalt Corp. announced it agreed on a term sheet with Glencore AG outlining the framework for a phased approach to recommission the First Cobalt Refinery in Ontario, Canada. The framework remains subject to a number of conditions and outlines the key milestones to a long-term strategic relationship that could bring a reliable source of domestically refined cobalt to the North American market.

Phase 1 entails a $5 million loan from Glencore to support additional metallurgical testing, engineering, cost estimating, field work, and permitting associated with the recommissioning of the First Cobalt Refinery, including a definitive feasibility study for a 55-metric-ton-per-day (mt/d) refinery expansion.

Phase 2 envisions commissioning the refinery at a feed rate of 12 mt/d in 2020 to produce a battery-grade cobalt sulfate for prequalification for the electric vehicle supply chain. Phase 3 involves an expansion of the refinery to a 55-mt/d feed rate by 2021, using the current site infrastructure and buildings.

Total capital investment under the three phases is estimated at approximately US$45 million and Phases 2 and 3 remain subject to the findings of the studies undertaken during Phase 1. Capital invested will be repaid by First Cobalt from cash flow generated under a longterm refining arrangement.

As featured in Womp 2019 Vol 08 -