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Northern Ontario has North America’s only cobalt sulfate refinery

Dec 9, 2022

Ontario’s Mines Minister George Pirie is fond of saying “We have what the world needs in northern Ontario.”
And when it comes to the extraordinary global shift toward electric vehicles, one company is making sure that Ontario is a leader when it comes to delivering on those needs.
Electra is building North America’s only fully integrated, localized and environmentally sustainable battery materials park in Cobalt. Leveraging the company’s own mining assets and business partners, the Electra Battery Materials Park will host cobalt and nickel sulfate production plants, a large-scale lithium-ion battery recycling facility, and battery precursor materials production, which will serve both North American and global customers.
Electra also owns the advanced exploration-stage Iron Creek cobalt-copper project in Idaho, USA. Electra Battery Materials is an integral part of the North American battery supply chain, providing low-carbon, sustainable and traceable raw materials for the region’s fast growing electric vehicle industry.

Ontario Hydrometallurgical Refinery

Electra’s refinery acts as a critical bridge between the North American electric vehicle supply chain and North American sources of raw minerals and recycled materials.
Located in Ontario, near the largest auto manufacturing centres in North America, Electra’s products are produced locally.  Our site is approximately 350 miles (600 kilometres) from the U.S. border and is accessible by road or rail. In addition to the renewable and affordable hydroelectricity that powers our site, Electra will produce the world’s lowest carbon solution for zero-emission vehicles.
Electra is growing its recycling business in a staged, modular fashion, initially targeting black mass from consumer electronics, and subsequently targeting primary battery scrap material from North American EV cell manufacturers.
Based on industry forecasts, there could be nearly 250,000 tonnes of lithium-ion (“Li-ion”) batteries available for recycling from manufacturing scrap in North America alone by 2025.
As electric vehicle adoption increases and renewable energy industries ramp up in North America, Electra will use hydrometallurgy to recycle black mass back into useable Li-ion battery materials.
Electra Battery Materials Corporation filed its financial results for the third quarter of 2022, and provided an update on the commissioning of its cobalt refinery and launch of its black mass recycling demonstration plant.  
“Our performance in the third quarter was marked by considerable progress against our strategy and each of our primary objectives,” said Trent Mell, Electra’s CEO. “Most notably, we signed a definitive supply agreement with LG Energy Solution, the world’s second-largest EV battery manufacturer, completed more than 85% of the recommissioning of existing brownfield equipment at our battery materials refinery complex, confirmed cobalt mineralization at a second zone located in close proximity to our flagship deposit in the Idaho Cobalt Belt, and completed a scoping study on the production of nickel sulfate at our battery materials refinery complex that suggested compelling economics. This progress is considerable for a company of our size and is indicative of the level of commitment by our employees to sustain the first mover advantage Electra has established.”
Mell added, “The adoption of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act provides strong incentives for the onshoring of the EV battery supply chain, which is already proving to be an important tailwind for our near-term prospects.”
“In the coming weeks, we expect to launch our black mass recycling demonstration plant where we will apply our lab-tested hydrometallurgical process to separate up to 75 tonnes of high-value material contained in recycled lithium-ion batteries into discrete metals, including nickel, cobalt, copper, graphite and lithium, for resale and new cashflow opportunities. This demonstration plant will run in parallel with the ongoing commissioning of our cobalt sulfate refinery, the first of its kind in North America, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2023.”
“Over the longer term, we are encouraged by the opportunities to expand into nickel sulfate production at our refinery in Ontario giving the findings of our scoping study and expand into cobalt sulfate production in Bécancour, Quebec based on preliminary work completed to date.”


For this article and more visit the digital copy of: The Northern Ontario Mining Report

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