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By A.J. Roan
For Metal Tech News 

First Cobalt strengthens ESG commitment

Joins global institute for sustainable, reliable cobalt production Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – July 1, 2020

 

Last updated 6/30/2020 at 2:40pm

First Cobalt refinery to supply sustainable battery metal in North America

First Cobalt Corp.

A computer rendering of what the First Cobalt refinery in Ontario, Canada will look like once the expansion is complete.

In a move that demonstrates its commitment to environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) practices, First Cobalt Corp. joins the Cobalt Institute as associate member.

"Becoming a member of the Cobalt Institute demonstrates our commitment to implementing the most rigorous supply chain sourcing and ESG standards," said First Cobalt President and CEO Trent Mell.

First Cobalt is a Canada-based company that is endeavoring to become North America's sole primary cobalt producer from its already permitted and built cobalt refinery in Ontario.

Permitted in 1996, the 12-metric-ton-per day First Cobalt refinery produced cobalt carbonate, nickel carbonate and silver precipitate during intermittent operations that spanned nearly two decades.

"This is really what our competitive advantage is – we got something that is built; that is permitted up to a certain point; and operated off-and-on until about 2015," Mell said.

To meet the growing demand of cobalt for lithium-ion batteries in North America, First Cobalt is working towards building the refinery's capacity to 55 metric tons per day.

First Cobalt has entered into a strategic partnership with Glencore Plc, the world's largest cobalt producing mining company, for feedstock from one of the global miner's operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While DRC is infamous for human rights abuses and child labor in artisanal mines, Glencore's industrial scale mines provide safe and good paying jobs in the African country, while ethically mining the rich deposits of cobalt and copper found there.

More information on Glencore and its commitment to ethical and sustainable cobalt can be read at Glencore joins Global Battery Alliance in the March 11 edition of Metal Tech News.

"Our strategic objective is to offer a premium supply of ethically-sourced cobalt by creating a closed supply chain," said Mell. "Over the next several years, Glencore intends to provide the feed for the First Cobalt Refinery from a single mining operation, with no other feed sources entering the downstream supply chain."

As part of this objective, the company joined Cobalt Institute, a global nonprofit that promotes the sustainable and responsible production and use of cobalt.

Cobalt Institute members, which includes Glencore, represents about 70% of cobalt produced worldwide.

To align with Cobalt Institute's responsible and sustainable production mandates, First Cobalt intends to qualify its Ontario refinery under the Responsible Minerals Initiative.

With more than 380 member companies from around the globe, the RMI is among the most utilized and respected resource for companies in a range of industries addressing responsible mineral sourcing issues in their supply chains.

First Cobalt refinery map Ontario near Great Lakes Detroit Toronto EV

First Cobalt Corp.

The First Cobalt refinery is roughly 300 miles (480 kilometers) north of the Great Lakes, a major hub for automotive manufacturing in Canada and the U.S.

First Cobalt is also in the initial stages of quantifying and benchmarking the expected carbon footprint from the renewed and expanded refinery.

With a C$50,000 grant from the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistant Program for greenhouse modeling, the company hopes to identify opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint as well to further align with sustainability practices.

"The grant from Canada's National Research Council will allow First Cobalt to accelerate our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and play an exemplary role in the industrial and automotive sectors," said Mell.

Find out more about First Cobalt's refinery and expansion at Critical step for Ontario cobalt refinery in the May 6 edition of Metal Tech News.

 

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