Canadian Mining Journal

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COBALT: First Cobalt considers restart of refinery


The exterior of First Cobalt’s refinery that may be restarted. (Image: First Cobalt)

ONTARIO – Three independent studies done for First Cobalt of Toronto all support starting the cobalt refinery in the town of the same name. The studies looked at capital requirements, operating costs, permit renewal timelines, potential feedstock sources, and offtake opportunities.

The refinery could produce cobalt sulphate for the lithium-ion battery market or cobalt metal for the U.S. aerospace industry.

The study examined a 24-t/d base case that would allow the refinery to produce between 568 and 1,063 tonnes of cobalt per year. To restart with the current flowsheet, the capex will be US$25.7 million with a 30% contingency. Operation costs would be US$6.7 million per year. This scenario envisions using a second autoclave that was previously installed but never fully commissioned.

An option to expand to 50 t/d before the restart would necessitate a nearly complete replacement of all process equipment within the existing building.

To renew the necessary permits for a restart is possible within 18 months of choosing a feedstock option.

A copy of the report is available on the company’s website www.FirstCobalt.com/investors/downloads-and-filings/.