2019 Refinery Study
On May 28, 2019, First Cobalt announced the results of a scoping study for the restart of the First Cobalt Refinery in Canada using third party cobalt hydroxide as feed material.
The report outlined three restart scenarios, each assuming that the refinery would primarily treat cobalt hydroxide grading approximately 30% cobalt. In all scenarios, the Refinery’s autoclave circuit is not required thereby eliminating the first constraint to higher production rates.
The first scenario (Case 0) assumed minimal capital investment outside refurbishing existing equipment. The next scenario (Case 1) assumed an additional capital investment to alleviate the bottleneck in the current solvent extraction (SX) circuit. The final scenario (Case 3) added an additional capital investment to alleviate the liquid-solid separation limitations of the currently installed equipment. Details of the three scenarios are summarized in Table 1.
A link to the full report is below and the summary findings are as follows:
Potential production scenarios (Numbers in US$)
|Case 0||Using currently installed equipment, flowsheet changed to process cobalt hydroxide feed. Production limited by the capacity of the currently installed SX circuit.||675||$12.0M||$4.69|
|Case 1||Using an expanded SX circuit, production is limited by capacity of the currently installed liquid-solid separation equipment||1,964||$18.4M||$2.88|
|Case 2||Using additional liquid-solid separation equipment, production limited by filtration capacity and the size of the existing building||5,020||$37.5M||$2.29|
*Tonnes per annum of cobalt in cobalt sulfate
**Operating costs were reduced by approximately 30% since the May 28, 2019 press release due to lower reagent costs, based on quotations rather than estimates
2018 Refinery Study
In October, 2018, First Cobalt announced the results of three independent studies undertaken to estimate capital requirements, operating costs, permit renewal timelines, potential feedstock options and offtake opportunities to support a restart of the First Cobalt Refinery in Ontario, Canada.
- Under a 24 tonnes per day (tpd) base case scenario, the refinery could produce up to 1,000 tonnes of cobalt per year; the study also considers an expansion scenario of up to 50 tpd
- At 24 tpd and using the current flowsheet, the capital cost of the restart is $25.7M (including a 30% contingency) and operating cost is estimated at $6.7M per annum
- Permitting review concludes that a restart is possible within 18 months of selecting a feedstock under the base case scenario
- Potential feed material includes cobalt concentrate from mining operations, ethically-sourced cobalt hydroxide material from the DRC and recycled battery materials from North America
- Refinery could produce a cobalt sulfate for the lithium-ion battery market or cobalt metal for the American aerospace industry
Discussions initiated with potential offtake partners
|24 TPD||50 TPD|
|Total Cost with 30% Contingency||US$M||25.72||105.36|
|Mass of Metal Recovered||Ni||Tonnes||745||1,552|
*Concentrate metal content fed into the First Cobalt Refinery will vary dependent upon feed source. A range of potential production rates for each option is provided. A mass pull to concentrate of 6% has been assumed.