- Cobalt hydroxide is being assessed as a potential feed for the First Cobalt Refinery, which will potentially be reopened in the future
- Discussions are underway with various metal trading companies for the ethical delivery of the resource
- First Cobalt has partnered with SGS Canada to test processing of cobalt hydroxide and other materials via the existing First Cobalt Refinery flowsheet
North American pure-play cobalt company First Cobalt Corp. (TSX.V: FCC) (OTCQX: FTSSF) (ASX: FCC) recently announced that it has begun testing cobalt hydroxide material as feedstock for its cobalt refinery (http://nnw.fm/W6BbX).
As part of the process, First Cobalt partnered up with Canadian mineral processing company SGS Canada, which will test cobalt hydroxide and other materials through the existing First Cobalt Refinery flowsheet. The steps are needed to test the production potential of cobalt sulphate or cobalt metal.
Apart from this partnership, First Cobalt is also negotiating with companies that specialize in the ethical sourcing of cobalt concentrate with a view toward ensuring the future feedstock for a potential restart of the refinery.
The aim is to enter a long-term agreement for a reliable source of ethically-mined cobalt, company president and CEO Trent Mell said in a news release. The cash flow potential from restarting the refinery could allow First Cobalt to finance a lot of the work on its flagship Iron Creek Cobalt Project in the state of Idaho. At the same time, the refinery will provide an important North American cobalt source, Mell noted.
The First Cobalt Refinery is located in the Canadian Cobalt Camp, 500 kilometers away from the U.S. border, and it is currently the only permitted cobalt refinery in North America capable of producing battery materials. First Cobalt has already carried out independent studies to determine the capital requirements, permit renewal timelines and operating costs associated with reopening the refinery, as well as the refinery’s potential feedstock options. The results were presented on October 10, 2018 (http://nnw.fm/Pd78s).
At a feed rate of 24 metric tons per day, the capital cost of the restart was estimated at $25.7 million, including a 30 percent contingency. According to the review, a restart of the refinery is possible within 18 months of selecting a feedstock.
First Cobalt Corp. is thus researching various feed sources. These could include cobalt concentrate, recycled battery materials and cobalt hydroxide. Through a bit of flowsheet modification, the First Cobalt Refinery could produce cobalt sulphate for the lithium ion battery industry or cobalt metal for the North American aerospace industry. According to current market indicators, the price of cobalt sulphate is similar to that of cobalt metal.
Before halting operations in 2015, the First Cobalt Refinery produced cobalt carbonate, silver precipitate and nickel carbonate. A modification of the flowsheet will be required to commence the cobalt sulphate production.
A final decision about the reactivation of the refinery is yet expected. The decision is heavily dependent on the studies and the ongoing discussions with potential First Cobalt partners.
First Cobalt is a North American pure-play cobalt company whose flagship asset is the Iron Creek Cobalt Project in Idaho, which has inferred mineral resources of 26.9 million tonnes grading 0.11 percent cobalt equivalent. The company’s other assets include 50 past-producing mines in the Canadian Cobalt Camp and the only permitted cobalt refinery in North America capable of producing battery materials.
For more information, visit the company’s website at http://nnw.fm/FTSSF
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