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June, 23rd 2021

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MAY 17
13:33

First Cobalt says refinery on schedule for 2022 commissioning

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Canada-based First Cobalt says it remains on schedule to recommission its hydrometallurgical refinery in northern Ontario in fourth quarter 2022, Kallanish reports.

When the plant begins operation, it will be the only refiner of battery-grade cobalt sulfate in North America and the second largest outside of China.

First Cobalt says a contract to build the cobalt sulfate crystalliser has been awarded and it will be built in the United States. It is to be shipped to the site in less than 44 weeks. Ontario has also issued a new permit to take water, allowing the project team to restore power and to prepare for construction.

“Thanks to the focus and hard work of the First Cobalt team, we continue to execute our strategic business plan and remain on schedule for 2022 commissioning,” says vice president of project development Mark Trevisiol in a statement. “Ordering the cobalt crystalliser in a timely manner was an important step on the construction schedule and the focus now shifts to the solvent extraction vendor package.”

The company says lender discussions for a $45 million debt facility are advancing, supplemented by CAD 18 million ($14.8m) in working capital and an additional CAD 10 million by thew Canadian and Ontario governments.

First Cobalt is also working with consultant Ausenco Engineering Canada on detailed engineering and procurement of the last two long lead equipment orders: solvent extraction tanks and filters.

The refinery, north of Toronto, Ontario, in the community of Temiskaming Shores operated from 1996 to 2015, producing cobalt, nickel, copper and silver. The company with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario, is expanding the facility and modifying the plant’s flowsheet to produce a high-grade cobalt for electric vehicle batteries. It will produce 25,000 tonnes/year of battery-grade cobalt sulfate. That could represent 5% of the global market for refined cobalt. The so-called Northern Ontario Refinery project is expected to cost about CAD 77m.

Bob Downing USA