First Cobalt continues to advance work on recommissioning and expanding its cobalt refinery in the northern Ontario town named Cobalt. The project is on schedule for commissioning in the fourth quarter 2022, positioning First Cobalt as the only producer of battery-grade cobalt sulphate in North America and the second-largest outside China.
The plant utilities, including regulatory inspections and the maintenance of the electric power supply system, pumping, piping and water supply system are underway. The water permit has been received, and the site closure plan has been submitted. Procurement, detailed engineering and additional metallurgical test work are also underway, the company said.
Geotechnical drilling is underway to aid in the design of the foundations of the new solvent extraction building, copper sulphate crystallizer building, and the effluent treatment facility. Improvements to the refinery access road are complete, and it can now handle the heavier traffic of transport trucks.
First Cobalt has also added to the project team with the recent addition of a health, safety and logistic superintendent and a health, safety, environment and training co-ordinator.
Current activity is funded by the C$14 million in the company’s treasury, although debt financing of $45 million is being arranged.
The refinery last operated from 1996 to 2015. When it restarts, it will produce over 5,000 tonnes of cobalt annually in 25,000 tones of cobalt sulphate. That represents 5% of the global market.
(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)