Glencore will supply the First Cobalt Refinery from the KCC mining operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo for five years, starting in the fourth quarter of 2022.
First Cobalt said the Glencore agreement means the company has now secured offtake for 90% of the projected capacity for its refinery, which aims to produce 22,250 tonnes per year of battery grade cobalt sulfate.
"This is a pivotal moment for our North American cobalt refining strategy," said Trent Mell, First Cobalt president and chief executive officer. "We are now focused on offtake arrangements and the financing package with the goal of commencing construction in mid-2021 and full commissioning in the second half of 2022."
First Cobalt has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Swiss base metal commodity trading company IXM for cobalt from CMOC's Tenke Fungurume mining operation in the DRC over the same time period.
Together the arrangements will provide 90% of the refinery's annual contained cobalt capacity of 5,000 tonnes per annum.
The company noted that financing and permitting are on schedule in support of commencement of construction of the plant in mid-2021.
"With feedstock arrangements in place, we can continue to advance our vision to create a new cobalt supply chain in North America. Electric vehicle sales in Europe were up more than 100% in 2020 and the U.S. will be the next large market to take off," added Mell.