First Cobalt on track for 2020 refinery restart with Glencore

First Cobalt currently owns the only fully permitted cobalt refinery capable of producing battery-grade material in North America. Credit: First Cobalt Corp.

Canada’s First Cobalt (TSX-V:FCC) released an update Wednesday on the progress of recommissioning its cobalt refinery in partnership with Glencore (LON:GLEN).

The mining and commodities trader giant is lending First Cobalt an initial $5 million to restart the company’s refinery in Ontario, which would become the only primary producer of refined cobalt for the electric vehicle (EV) market in North America.

“With Glencore as our partner, our intention is to bring a reliable source of ethical cobalt to North America in 2020”

Trent Mell, First Cobalt CEO

Glencore said in August that once a definitive feasibility study for a planned expansion is completed, which is expected to happen in early 2020, it would invest another $40 million into recommissioning and expanding the refinery, located 600 km from the US-Canada border.

First Cobalt says it is on schedule for Q1 2020 completion of a prefeasibility study for a 12 t/d restart and a second definitive feasibility study for a 55 t/d expansion scenario in the second half of 2021.

“With Glencore as our partner, our intention is to bring a reliable source of ethical cobalt to North America in 2020s,” said Trent Mell, the company’s president and CEO.

Based on a scoping study released earlier this year, the capital cost of expanding the First Cobalt refinery to 55 t/d came in at $37.5 million. An estimated 25,000 tonnes per year of battery grade cobalt sulphate could be produced.

At market close Wednesday, First Cobalt’s stock was up over 4% on the TSX Venture Exchange. The company has a C$46.5 million market capitalization.

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