Electra Battery Materials begins foundation work for solvent extraction plant

On its way to constructing North America’s only battery-grade cobalt refinery, Electra Battery Materials (TSXV: ELBM) (OTC: ELBMF) has initiated foundation work of the […]
Credit: Electra Battery Materials

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On its way to constructing North America's only battery-grade cobalt refinery, Electra Battery Materials (TSXV: ELBM) (OTC: ELBMF) has initiated foundation work of the solvent extraction plant. The project remains on budget and on schedule for a December 2022 commissioning.

Earlier this month, Electra obtained final approval of its closure plan for the facility, which enabled the company to accelerate new construction and industrial activities at site. 

The cobalt refinery, which is being repurposed and expanded from an existing hydrometallurgical facility, represents the first phase of the company’s four-part plan of becoming a vertically integrated supplier of battery minerals for automakers in North America.

Once complete, it would be one of two major cobalt sulphate refineries located outside China, the world's leading electric vehicle market. The target is to produce 6,500 tonnes of cobalt annually (from 32,500 tonnes of cobalt sulphate).

The ensuing phase of Electra's plan involves building further processing capacity for nickel sulphate, recycling of primary and secondary battery scrap materials and precursor production – all within a proposed battery materials park project.

"Our team has been focused on both the recommissioning of our existing refinery equipment and preparing the site for the construction of the new solvent extraction and crystallizer plant facilities," commented Mark Trevisiol, VP of project development at Electra. "These are important milestones and a credit to our project owner's team and our consultants who continue to demonstrate a disciplined commitment to executing this project."

Electra completed all earthworks for the plant late last year, and the pre-engineered building is expected to be completed by the end of April. All long lead equipment orders have also been placed.

Meanwhile, brownfield mechanical equipment verification is 77% complete, with all major existing equipment having been tested. The existing mechanical-electrical and instrumentation equipment have demonstrated excellent performance when test run, with few upgrades required, the company said.

In the coming weeks, the build out of the cobalt crystallizer circuit is expected begin, with the arrival of key equipment on site between April and June.

For more information, please visit www.electrabmc.com.

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