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Electra receives govt grant for Ontario cobalt sulphate refinery

Electra CEO Trent Mell

Electra CEO Trent Mell

12th February 2024

By: Creamer Media Reporter

     

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The Canadian government made a $5-million investment to support the construction of North America’s first cobalt sulphate refinery, dual-listed Electra Battery Materials reported on Friday.

The investment will be provided in the form of a grant from the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, or FedNor.

“Canada has surpassed China as the top jurisdiction in the global battery supply chain, given its strength in raw materials mining and processing,” said Electra CEO Trent Mell.

“Today’s announcement from the government of Canada demonstrates its continued commitment to building a strong, domestic electric vehicle (EV) supply chain. We are grateful for this additional investment as it represents added validation of our progress and will allow Electra to continue to work toward our goal of producing secure, clean and ethically sourced materials that are a crucial part of a sustainable future for EVs in Canada."

Pending completion, Electra’s refinery complex aims to be the first in North America to integrate the production of critical minerals, including cobalt sulphate and nickel sulphate, needed for the North American EV battery supply chain with the processing of black mass material, designed to recover high-value elements found in recycled lithium-ion batteries, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, graphite and copper.

Throughout 2023, Electra operated a plant-scale battery recycling trial at its refinery complex, processing more than 40 t of black mass material and producing high-quality nickel, cobalt and lithium products.

Once fully commissioned, the refinery could produce sufficient cobalt for up to 1.5 million EVs a year.

In mid-2023, Electra announced that its battery-grade cobalt sulphate agreement with LG Energy Solution, a leading global manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, had been extended and expanded from initial terms. The agreement now provides for the supply of 19 000 t of cobalt contained in sulphate beginning in 2025. The total will represent up to 80% of Electra’s expected yearly production.

It is estimated that the refinery complex has a current replacement cost of more than $250-million.

The cobalt project has been derisked through the delivery of most long lead equipment and by commissioning the legacy refinery operations for the black mass demonstration plant.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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