Electra gets Canadian gov’t funding for critical minerals recycling project

Electra Battery Metals refinery facility in Cobalt, north of Toronto. Electra BMC photo

Electra Battery Materials (NASDAQ: ELBM; TSXV: ELBM) announced Monday it has received C$5 million in contribution funding from the Canadian government to support the development of its proprietary battery materials recycling technology.

North of Toronto, Ontario, Electra is constructing North America’s only cobalt sulfate refinery as part of a multiphase effort to onshore refining capabilities for cathode materials. Its priority is to secure the capital required to recommission and expand its cobalt refinery, with a long-term view of providing recycled battery materials and battery-grade nickel for the electric vehicle market.

In 2023, the company successfully operated a battery materials recycling demonstration plant in a batch process at its refinery complex in Ontario, processing more than 40 tonnes of end-of-life battery scrap, known as “black mass,” and producing high-quality nickel, cobalt and lithium products.

Electra’s demonstration program is believed to be the first plant-scale recycling of black mass material in North America as well as the first domestic production of nickel-cobalt mixed hydroxide precipitate product.

The company said it is accelerating the next phase of its recycling project to demonstrate on a continuous basis that the hydrometallurgical black mass process is scalable, profitable, and can be implemented at other locations.

The Canadian government, through National Resources Canada’s Critical Minerals Research, Development and Demonstration program, has committed funding of C$5 million ($3.6m) for the project, which will be based at Electra’s fully permitted property about five hours north of Toronto in Temiskaming Shores.

“Today’s funding announcement is a clear signal from the government of Canada of its ongoing commitment to creating a strong, sustainable EV supply chain,” Electra CEO Trent Mell said in a news release.

“While recycling critical minerals is part of our business strategy, we also remain focused on the construction of our cobalt sulfate refinery and look forward to updating the market with funding developments to restart construction,” Mell said.

“This funding will increase mineral and energy security, create good jobs and support economic opportunities — supporting our work to build a cleaner Canada and a prosperous, sustainable economy that works for everyone,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

The funding announcement was made in Sudbury, alongside an announcement of funding into the Mining Innovation Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corp, which also got C$5 million.

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