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article imageCanadian company produces its first battery-grade cobalt sulfate

By Karen Graham     Apr 4, 2019 in Technology
Ontario - First Cobalt Corp. announced it has successfully produced a battery grade cobalt sulfate using the First Cobalt Refinery flowsheet, bringing the company closer to recommissioning the only permitted primary cobalt refinery in North America.
The company produced a battery-grade cobalt sulfate that assayed 20.8 percent cobalt, surpassing the reference grade for sulfate pricing. This classified as "high purity", achieving over 99.9 percent purity. The test work was carried out in single batches, which allowed the company to improve product specifications to meet offtake partner requirements through process optimization.
This leaves First Cobalt with the ability to produce up to 2,000 tons of cobalt in product per year. First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell said: “Producing a battery grade cobalt sulfate is one of our most significant accomplishments as the majority of refined cobalt for the electric vehicle market is produced in Asia."
"With no cobalt sulfate production in North America today, First Cobalt stands to become the first such producer for the American electric vehicle market," he added.
First Cobalt Corp. was incorporated on July 13, 2011, under the Business Corporations Act of British Columbia. The company's acquisition of its flagship Iron Creek Project in Idaho has helped to make First Cobalt the largest primary cobalt producer outside the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
First Cobalt has the only permitted cobalt refinery in North America. The refinery is a hydrometallurgical cobalt-silver-nickel refinery located approximately five kilometers east of Cobalt, Ontario. The facility was commissioned in 1996 and in its current configuration, has a throughput design of 24 tons per day.
First Cobalt Corp
In April 2018, several studies were commissioned to determine how much additional capital it would take to undergo an expansion of the refinery. The results of the studies came back with the conclusion a 24 ton per day feed rate was possible using the current flowsheet, and the capital cost of the restart is estimated at US$25.7 million (including a 30 percent contingency) and a permitting review concluded that a restart is possible within 18 months of selecting a feedstock.
In preparation for restarting the refinery, First Cobalt has selected Ausenco to work with SGS Canada on detailed engineering to assess further refinement to the flowsheet to maximize potential output.
Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, Ausence is a global company providing consulting, engineering, project delivery and asset operations, management and optimization solutions to the minerals & metals, oil & gas and industrial sectors.
More about Ontario, First colbalt, batterygrade, North America, Electric car batteries
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