First Cobalt refinery output could be doubled

Aerial image of the First Cobalt refinery. Image courtesy of First Cobalt Corp

Ausenco Engineering Canada has delivered a study of the refinery in Cobalt, Ontario to Toronto-based First Cobalt Corp. The study says that using third party cobalt hydroxide as feed, the refinery output could be doubled to 5,000 t/y cobalt contained in sulphate.

The estimated cost to double refinery capacity would be C$37.5 million, spent in stages. Any work will first involve eliminating the existing autoclave circuit and debottlenecking the rest of the plant.

Ausenco’s scoping level study outlined three restart scenarios, assuming the refinery would treat cobalt hydroxide feed grating at least 30% cobalt. One: the existing equipment could be refurbished at a cost of C$12 million. Two: debottlenecking the existing solvent extraction circuit would cost an additional C$18.4 million. Three: increase liquid-solid separation capacity by adding more filtration capacity and expand the existing building at another cost of C$37.5 million.

First Cobalt has not yet committed to restarting the refinery, and it is in talks with Glencore to supply the feedstock and financing.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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