First Cobalt initiates study on refinery restart requirements
First Cobalt Corp. (TSX-V: FCC) has initiated a study of the First Cobalt Refinery, located in the Canadian Cobalt Camp, intended to help estimate the capital requirements for a future restart and expansion of the refinery.
First Cobalt is 100% owner of the refinery, which is the only fully permitted cobalt refinery in North America capable of producing battery materials. The study will estimate the capital required to restart the refinery in its current configuration and under an expansion scenario within the existing footprint. It will also provide operating cost estimates for both the current configuration and an expansion scenario. The refinery could treat third-party material for a North American supply of cobalt sulfate to the electric vehicle market.
First Cobalt has initiated the study to estimate the capital needed to restart the facility in its current configuration and under an expansion scenario. The expansion scenario study will estimate the additional capital needed and increase in throughput of an expanded facility within the current building footprint. Estimates will be made for both scenarios.
The First Cobalt Refinery is a hydrometallurgical cobalt-silver-nickel refinery located five km east of Cobalt, Ontario. It was commissioned in 1996 with a nominal throughput of 12 tonnes per day. A second autoclave was later added to the pressure oxidation circuit to double the throughput to 24 tonnes per day, but the second autoclave was never fully commissioned. The current footprint includes an empty feed warehouse that once housed a mill. The facility is located on a 40-acre property that can be expanded to 120 acres with two settling ponds and an autoclave pond.
A 2012 report prepared for a previous owner by Hatch estimated the replacement value of the
First Cobalt Refinery at US$78 million, excluding the capital invested in power lines and earthworks related to the tailings facility and roads.
The facility is fully permitted for processing feed containing elevated concentrations of arsenic, such as those from the Cobalt Camp, the Idaho Cobalt Belt and elsewhere in North America. The company believes that permitting a similar facility in North America today could take a significant investment of time.
The ability of the refinery to process materials containing elevated arsenic and produce cobalt battery materials could de-risk not only First Cobalt projects, but also other North American cobalt projects.
First Cobalt has engaged Primero Group, an Australian engineering firm with an office in Montréal, to conduct the desktop study review.
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