First Cobalt Produces Battery Grade Cobalt Sulfate

March 30, 2020
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TORONTO, ON — March 30, 2020 – First Cobalt Corp. (TSX-V:FCC, OTCQX:FTSSF) (the “Company”) today announced it once again produced a battery grade cobalt sulfate using its refinery flow sheet but this time with a different feed source. This latest milestone demonstrates versatility of the Company’s permitted Canadian refinery and its ability to become North America’s only producer of cobalt sulfate for the electric vehicle industry.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Second trial produces battery grade cobalt sulfate assaying 21.4% cobalt, surpassing the reference grade for sulfate pricing
  • Over 99.9% purity achieved in batch testing, with ample opportunity to improve product specifications to meet offtake partner requirements through process adjustments
  • Ability to treat different feedstocks underlines flowsheet versatility of the permitted hydrometallurgical facility
  • Definitive Feasibility Study in final stages with completion now anticipated in one month

Trent Mell, First Cobalt President & CEO, commented:

“This is an excellent result. There were no surprises from this latest round of metallurgical testing and the few impurities remaining in the cobalt sulfate product were in line with expectations given the test process we followed. Once we have settled on buyers for the product, we are confident that we can make a sulfate product that will meet the quality requirements of their batteries.

Economic uncertainty due to COVID-19 is not expected to have a lasting impact on the Company’s strategic plans, as we do not intend to rely on equity markets to finance our refinery expansion. The transition from internal combustion engines to EVs will continue, with cobalt a key ingredient for the batteries we need for a clean future. First Cobalt’s strategy and our partnership with Glencore will put us at the center of this transition for the North American and European markets.”

SGS Canada was engaged to assess the suitability of cobalt hydroxide and a cobalt alloy product as potential feedstock for the First Cobalt hydrometallurgical facility. Tests simulated existing circuits to determine the ability to produce a cobalt sulfate heptahydrate, a critical component of lithium-ion batteries. In 2019, First Cobalt produced a battery grade cobalt sulfate that assayed 20.8% cobalt from a cobalt hydroxide feed, surpassing the reference grade for sulfate pricing. Today’s results were derived from the cobalt alloy and yielded another battery grade cobalt sulfate that assayed 21.4% cobalt. Both products are also classified as ‘high purity’, achieving over 99.9% purity based on measurable impurities.

In August 2019, the Company entered into a strategic relationship with Glencore AG, which provided a framework for a fully funded, phased approach to recommissioning and expanding the refinery. A feasibility study for the refinery expansion is currently in its final stages and is now expected to be completed at the end of April. This is one month later than anticipated due in part to pandemic-related work slowdowns, which impacted inflow and review of vendor quotations.

First Cobalt’s cobalt sulfate product, grading 21.4% Co (Source: SGS)

First Cobalt’s cobalt sulfate product, grading 21.4% Co (Source: SGS)

The Company owns the only primary cobalt refinery in North America. As the majority of refined cobalt for the electric vehicle market is produced in Asia, the First Cobalt Refinery could become a strategic asset for the North American and European battery markets.

A final decision to put the Refinery back into production is contingent on the outcome of the feasibility study and the completion of a long-term feed supply agreement with Glencore.

About First Cobalt

First Cobalt owns North America’s only permitted cobalt refinery. Cobalt refining is a critical component to the development and manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and forms a foundational piece of the next generation of the North American auto sector and other electrified consumer and industrial applications. First Cobalt owns a cobalt project in the United States and controls significant mineral assets in the Canadian Cobalt Camp, including more than 50 past producing mines.

On behalf of First Cobalt Corp.

Trent Mell
President & Chief Executive Officer

For more information visit www.firstcobalt.com or contact:

Sabrina Gunness
[email protected]
+1.416.900.3891

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release may contain forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (together, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable securities laws and the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of terminology such as “plans”, “expects', “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “believes” or variations of such words, or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might”, “occur” or “be achieved”. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance and opportunities to differ materially from those implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements are set forth in the management discussion and analysis and other disclosures of risk factors for First Cobalt, filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although First Cobalt believes that the information and assumptions used in preparing the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed times frames or at all. Except where required by applicable law, First Cobalt disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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