First Cobalt on track for 2020 refinery restart with Glencore

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Canada’s First Cobalt (TSX-V:FCC) released an update Wednesday on the progress of recommissioning its cobalt refinery in partnership with Glencore (LON:GLEN).

The mining and commodities trader giant is lending First Cobalt an initial $5 million to restart the company’s refinery in Ontario, which would become the only primary producer of refined cobalt for the electric vehicle (EV) market in North America.

Glencore said in August that once a definitive feasibility study for a planned expansion is completed, which is expected to happen in early 2020, it would invest another $40 million into recommissioning and expanding the refinery, located 600 km from the US border

First Cobalt says it is on schedule for Q1 2020 completion of a prefeasibility study for a 12 tonnes per day restart and a second definitive feasibility study for a 55 tonnes per day expansion scenario in the second half of 2021.

“With Glencore as our partner, our intention is to bring a reliable source of ethical cobalt to North America in 2020’s,” said Trent Mell, the company’s president and CEO.

“With Glencore as our partner, our intention is to bring a reliable source of ethical cobalt to North America in 2020”

Trent Mell, First Cobalt CEO

Based on a scoping study released earlier this year, the capital cost of expanding the First Cobalt refinery to 55 t/d came in at $37.5 million. An estimated 25,000 tonnes per year of battery grade cobalt sulfate could be produced.

The First Cobalt refinery is located in the Canadian cobalt camp in northern Ontario. It is the only permitted primary cobalt refinery in North America.

At market close Wednesday, First Cobalt’s stock was up over 4% on the TSX-V. The company has a C$46.5 million market capitalization.