TORONTO, Nov. 7, 2021 /CNW/ - (First Cobalt Corp.
(TSXV: FCC) (OTCQX: FTSSF) (the "Company") today
announced that it is expanding its strategic plan to provide
battery grade nickel and cobalt, recycled battery materials and
precursor material to the North American supply chain. The new
business model would result in the creation of the only battery
materials park on the continent, providing North American
automakers with direct access to a secure domestic source of low
carbon raw materials.
To better reflect the Company's vision, First Cobalt Corp. will
change its name to Electra Battery Materials Corporation
("Electra"). The name change, which remains subject to
shareholder approval, better reflects the strategic positioning and
more clearly communicates the Company's long-term value proposition
for customers, investors and other stakeholders.
Electra Battery Materials is currently expanding a permitted
hydrometallurgical refinery north of Toronto to produce 5,000 tonnes of cobalt
starting in Q4 2022. The Company has also been testing black mass
feeds from recycled batteries and will be announcing results from
test work and engineering studies in the coming weeks.
Global consultancy firm CRU has been retained to complete a
nickel market study, which will assess market conditions for a
battery grade nickel sulfate plant in North America. Results from this study will
support ongoing discussions with potential providers of nickel feed
material as well as engineering studies for a future low carbon
nickel plant, capitalizing on an existing hydrometallurgical plant,
hydroelectric power and seasoned construction and processing teams.
Development of similar integrated battery material complexes in
Europe and Asia have resulted in the construction of
precursor cathode active material (PCAM) plants co-located adjacent
to integrated refining facilities, as operational efficiencies can
significantly lower the cost of battery cells.
- Electra Battery Materials' industrial park in Ontario, Canada will be the only integrated
battery materials complex in North
America, providing a low carbon and domestic supply of key
inputs to the electric vehicle revolution
- Strong interest from automotive companies and cell makers in an
integrated lithium-ion battery raw materials industrial complex in
North America, capitalising on
Electra's existing facilities and infrastructure to develop a
Battery Materials Park in Canada
- Nickel sulfate production is a fundamental part of Electra's
four-phased growth plan, encompassing battery recycling, cobalt
refining, nickel refining, and lithium-ion battery precursor
- Electra is in talks with several potential nickel suppliers to
secure raw material for its battery grade nickel sulfate facility
in 2024-25 which, when combined with Electra's near-term cobalt
output, could supply sufficient raw material to build more than 1.5
million electric vehicles per annum
- Electra is also in early talks with precursor manufacturers to
partner on the construction of a precursor facility on its Canadian
site in 2025
- The Company will be hosting a live investor call today at
11:00am ET where Management will
explain its strategic positioning, provide an update on its
refinery project and discuss next steps and upcoming milestones.
Join here: https://cutt.ly/FTeggwA
"Globalization has created an electric vehicle supply chain that
is too long, too costly and increasingly unreliable," said
Trent Mell, President & CEO.
"Our automaker clients have a strong interest in greater
localization of the upstream supply chain to achieve greater
reliability, security of long-term supply, and a lower carbon
footprint. With the continent's rich mineral endowment, the
rationale for supplying battery materials through Asia into a growing U.S. EV market is not
sustainable. Electra will act as a bridge between North American
electric vehicles and a North American source of primary and
recycled material, providing a low carbon solution for zero
"We see serious strains in the automotive supply chain and we
are still in the early innings of EV adoption. Beneath the surface
are several other factors that are of concern, including carbon
emissions associated with the current supply chain, resource
nationalism, geopolitics and a race to secure raw material to power
the vehicles of tomorrow."
Electra's refinery is 100% powered by clean, hydroelectric power
from Ontario Power Generation, resulting in nearly zero greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions.
Michael Insulan, Vice President, Commercial added: "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 tonnes 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 localised primary feeds,
resulting in more jobs and investments in our home market."
Battery Materials Park
Electra's metallurgical complex in Canada has a previous operating history and
permits which will facilitate an accelerated establishment of a
Battery Materials Park. The Company has taken several steps to
enable the future expansion of its existing industrial site and is
in talks with other market participants and government officials,
who are supportive of these expansion plans.
Phase 1 of the four-phase plan is underway and consists of the
expansion of an existing refinery complex to produce 26% of the
ex-China supply of battery grade
cobalt. The project is progressing on schedule and will be
commissioned at the end of 2022.
Phase 2 involves treating battery materials from the cathode and
anode of lithium batteries to recover lithium, nickel, cobalt,
copper and graphite, leveraging existing plant equipment that
previously recovered nickel, copper and cobalt. A scoping study is
nearing completion and will benefit from existing processes and
infrastructure and would be operated by the same team as the cobalt
plant. Plans are underway to commission a demonstration plant in
2022 then start treating black mass from batteries on a commercial
basis in 2023.
Electra anticipates being very competitive in battery recycling
as its hydrometallurgical refinery is expected to provide higher
yields at a lower cost and at significantly lower energy intensity,
compared to traditional pyrometallurgical facilities. The capital
cost of adding a recycling circuit to an existing refining complex
will be much lower than planned greenfield facilities – and much
faster given that permits are in place. Closed loop recycling of
lithium-ion batteries will serve the electric vehicle market in
North America and Europe and in the short term will benefit from
higher availability of cobalt-rich consumer electronics.
In Phase 3, Electra intends to construct a modular nickel
sulfate plant, initially producing in excess of 60,000 tonnes of
nickel. A nickel plant will enable the Company's ambition to build
North America's first integrated
Battery Materials Park.
Electra Battery Materials has initiated a nickel market study
with global commodities intelligence and analysis firm CRU, to
assess market opportunities for a nickel sulfate plant in
North America. The study will
evaluate the outlook for battery grade nickel sulfate demand for
Electra to advance talks with prospective nickel raw material
suppliers in the region.
Electric vehicle sales in the U.S. and Canada grew by nearly 130% year-over-year in
the first half of 2021 to a total of almost 325,000 units,
according to Rho Motion, an industry leading electric vehicle and
battery forecasting and analysis firm. Battery cell manufacturers
and automakers are gearing up to supply the growing market and
require a regional battery materials supply solution.
The fourth phase of the Company's growth strategy will see the
construction of a battery precursor materials plant in 2025, likely
with a joint-venture partner.
The company seeks to replicate the successes of battery raw
materials complexes in Finland,
South Korea and China, catering to a rapidly expanding battery
cell industry in the U.S. and Canada.
Co-location of lithium-ion battery precursor manufacturing with
nickel and cobalt sulfate production represents a major cost saving
in the battery value chain. By removing the need to crystalize
material prior to transportation, 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.
In accordance with the Company's long term incentive plan, First
Cobalt has granted certain newly recruited employees of the Company
50,000 Restricted Share Units (RSUs) and incentive stock options to
purchase an aggregate of 250,000 common shares of First Cobalt
exercisable at a price of the previous day's closing price of
C$0.35 for a period of five
years. The RSUs will vest in three equal tranches and can be
settled in cash or shares. The Company has also issued 35,714
Deferred Share Units (DSUs) to a director as compensation for their
services. Long-term incentive grants are a key retention and
incentive tool for key employees and new hires and remain subject
to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.
About Electra Battery Materials
Electra is building North
America's only fully integrated, localized and
environmentally sustainable battery materials park. 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 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
On behalf of Electra Battery Materials.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Neither 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
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking
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 Electra, filed on SEDAR at
www.sedar.com. Although Electra 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, Electra disclaims any intention or obligation to
update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result
of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE First Cobalt Corp.