First Cobalt is expanding its plans to provide battery-grade nickel and cobalt, recycled battery materials and precursor material to the North American supply chain. First Cobalt is also changing its name to Electra Battery Materials.
Electra is expanding a permitted hydrometallurgical refinery north of Toronto, which is projected to produce 5,000 tons of cobalt per year starting in Q4 2022. The company has also been testing black mass feeds from recycled batteries. Global consultancy firm CRU is completing a nickel market study for Electra, which will assess market conditions for a battery-grade nickel sulfate plant in North America.
Nickel sulfate production is a fundamental part of Electra’s four-phased growth plan, which encompasses battery recycling, cobalt refining, nickel refining and battery precursor material manufacturing. Co-location of lithium-ion battery precursor manufacturing with nickel and cobalt sulfate production represents a major cost savings in the battery value chain. By removing the need to crystallize material prior to transportation, Electra says an operational cost saving in the range of 4-6% can be achieved. Additional savings are realized through reduced logistics costs, which also lowers the carbon footprint of cathode materials.
Electra VP Michael Insulan said, “There have been several new battery plant announcements over the past few months in North America, adding to a pipeline already exceeding 500 GWh. These plants are going to require thousands of tons of locally-sourced raw materials. Electra intends to become the first regional refiner capable of providing these materials in bulk through a modular plant design. To keep up with a rapidly evolving market, we can and must do more for the circular economy and through localized primary feeds.”
Source: First Cobalt