IPP&T Magazine Online

First Cobalt set to restart Ontario refinery

October 10, 2018  

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First Cobalt Corp. has announced the results of three studies supporting a restart of the First Cobalt Refinery in Ontario.

“The First Cobalt Refinery is a strategic North American asset and potentially our quickest path to cash flow by producing cobalt materials for the North American market.,” said Trent Mell, president and CEO of First Cobalt. “The facility is in excellent condition with permits in place and a short timeline to potential production, as well as optionality for both sources of material and refined product. Future offtake partners may offer flexibility with financing options to minimize dilution as we move forward.”

The First Cobalt Refinery is a hydrometallurgical cobalt-silver-nickel refinery in the Canadian Cobalt Camp,  just east of Cobalt, Ont., approximately 500 kilometres from the U.S. border. The facility was commissioned in 1996 and has a nominal throughput of 12 to 24 tpd.

First Cobalt has completed three studies to assess options for a restart of the facility:

(1) a desktop engineering review of the current flowsheet and associated capital and operating costs to resume operations at a throughput rate of 12 to 50 tpd;

(2) a permit review to assess the time required to renew and amend existing operating permits; and

(3) a market study to identify potential feed sources and final products and estimate gross margin opportunities.

The company is in discussions with various feedstock suppliers and potential offtake parties who could finance an eventual restart of the cobalt refining facility. The base case scenario would see refinery resume operations at 24 tpd.

“We believe that the single best use of the refinery is to provide cobalt for the U.S. market, which does not currently produce a meaningful supply,” said Mell. “At this time, we are working with engineering and market consultants to assess the suitability and margin opportunities of various feed sources. This process includes a review of design modifications to the existing refinery flow sheet and the resulting impact on capital and operating costs. While no decision for start-up has been made to move forward, we are reviewing funding alternatives that would minimize equity dilution for our shareholders today and in the future.”

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