Canada based pure-clay cobalt company, First Cobalt Corp. (ASX: FCC) declared to the market on 3 April 2019, that it has been successful in producing a battery grade cobalt sulfate utilizing the First Cobalt Refinery flowsheet.
It is a noteworthy landmark achieved by the company and has brought it near to recommissioning the only permitted primary cobalt refinery in Northern American region.
After the revelation of this detail, negotiations are presently going on with companies associated with automotive sector, miners associated with cobalt element and providers of capital. These discussions are expected to move towards a more advanced stage.
Mr Trent Mell, President and CEO, said that the production of the battery grade cobalt sulfate by the company is a major achievement as most of the refined cobalt for the electric vehicle (EV) is generated in the Asian region. With no competition from other cobalt producers in the North American region, FCC seems well positioned to become the first such producer for the USA EV sector.
In the North American region, the First Cobalt Refinery is the only primary refinery, which has permission to carry on the operation work. The outcome of the tests, declared to the market today has validated that the currently applied procedures in the FCC’s Refinery have a capacity of generating a highly pure, battery grade cobalt sulfate.
As per the company’s notification to the market, in November last year, FCC mentioned that Canada based company SGS, was roped in to test Co (OH)2, by applying the procedures in the present refinery flowsheet, to evaluate its aptness as feedstock.
The present Refinery flowsheet consists of an autoclave circuit, and several solvent extraction lines to treat different elements, which was followed by product precipitation and filtration stages. Test work demonstrated that processing Co (OH)2 feed would not need the reactivation of the Refinery’s autoclaves.
During the program, the cobalt hydroxide tested contained head grades of ~21 percent cobalt. It differs with other sources of cobalt hydroxide, which contain head grades approaching 30% of cobalt, creating a chance for higher production. All the tests were conducted in single batches, giving plenty of room to enhance product specifications to meet the requirements of offtake partners via process optimization.
Also, in the latter part of 2018, FCC released the outcomes of 3 studies conducted independently to roughly calculate the requirements related to the capital, costs related to the operation, permit renewal timelines and such. At a 24 tonne per day feed rate and using the current flowsheet, the capital cost of the restart of the refinery, has been estimated at US$25.7M and an approved review settled that a recommencement is likely to happen in 18 months period, followed by the selection of a feedstock.
Recently, the company had confirmed the extended mineralisation in Iron Creek Cobalt Project and announced about the private placement.
The stock of the company closed the day’s trading at A$0.205 (as on 4 April 2019), up by a massive 31.26%. The company has a market capitalisation of around A$66.67 million with circa 430.1 million shares outstanding.
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