Glencore gets behind First Cobalt in refinery endeavour

Diversified miner Glencore is standing beside Toronto, Canada-based First Cobalt in its mission to restart its refinery in Ontario, which it said was the only primary cobalt refinery facility in North America
Glencore gets behind First Cobalt in refinery endeavour Glencore gets behind First Cobalt in refinery endeavour Glencore gets behind First Cobalt in refinery endeavour Glencore gets behind First Cobalt in refinery endeavour Glencore gets behind First Cobalt in refinery endeavour

First Cobalt is looking to restart its refinery in Ontario

Specifically, under a new memorandum of understanding, Glencore will provide feedstock to the refinery, which has an annual production capacity of 2,000 to 2,500 tonnes of sulphate. It will also likely provide financing to First Cobalt for recommissioning.

Once definitive agreements are signed, the pair will be collaborating on a final flowsheet design for the refinery with a shared view of fast-tracking the restart.

First Cobalt said the refinery could come online within 18-24 months. It is currently discussing streamlining opportunities to accelerate permit amendments with provincial government officials.

"The partnership … will help First Cobalt achieve its stated objective of providing ethically sourced battery-grade cobalt for the North American electric vehicle market," president and CEO Trent Mell said, pointing out that Glencore is an ideal partner since it is the world's top cobalt producer.

"This announcement marks the culmination of one year's work, bringing First Cobalt closer to generating cash flow and reducing reliance on the equity markets to fund future advancement of our North American primary cobalt assets in Idaho and Ontario."

First Cobalt added that, at current, a final decision on whether to put the refinery back into production has not been made. Any decision, it added, will hinge on the results of discussions and studies that are ongoing.

"The company has not completed a study of the economic viability of operating the refinery. Any decision to restart the refinery will not be based on anticipated development of any of the company's current projects," the company said, confirming that it does not at this time anticipate it will use its own projects as a feedstock source.

The First Cobalt refinery is a hydrometallurgical cobalt refinery in the Canadian Cobalt Camp, about 600km from the US border.