First Cobalt steps up on ESG practice

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

First Cobalt (TSXV: FCC) has taken further steps to strengthen its environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices by joining the Cobalt Institute as an associate member.

The Cobalt Institute is the forum for global cobalt market participants and helps to shape industry best practices across the supply chain. A key part of its mandate is to promote the responsible and sustainable production and use of cobalt, a key ingredient in electric vehicle batteries.

With this membership, the company says it intends to qualify the First Cobalt Refinery under the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI) — one of the most utilized and respected resources for companies that wish to address responsible mineral sourcing issues in their supply chains.

The Cobalt Institute is the forum for global cobalt market participants and helps to shape industry best practices across the supply chain

A central tenet of the RMI is application of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for responsible supply chains of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas.

“Our strategic objective is to offer a premium supply of ethically-sourced cobalt by creating a closed supply chain,” First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell stated.

“Over the next several years, Glencore intends to provide the feed for the First Cobalt Refinery from a single mining operation, with no other feed sources entering the downstream supply chain. This will give buyers of our refined cobalt comfort that conflict minerals are not being introduced into their consumer products.”

The company is also in the initial stages of quantifying and benchmarking the expected carbon footprint of the First Cobalt Refinery. To assist with this work, the company has obtained a grant of C$50,000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistant Program (NRC IRAP) to model its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and identify opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint throughout the refining process.

Shares of First Cobalt were down 3.4% as of 2 p.m. ET on the TSX Venture Exchange. The Toronto-based miner has a market capitalization of C$54.2 million.

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