Electra considers Quebec cobalt refinery
Carrying out studies on plant in the emerging Battery Valley Metal Tech News - June 22, 2022
Last updated 7/12/2022 at 2:13pm
As it advances the development of a lithium-ion battery materials park centered on its cobalt refinery in Ontario, Electra Battery Materials Corp. is considering the potential of building a second similar facility in a battery materials park being developed near the town of Becancour in the neighboring province of Quebec.
"Given a forecasted deficit in domestic cobalt sulfate production by 2025, we have received significant interest from industry and government stakeholders to build a second refinery in North America," said Electra Battery Materials CEO Trent Mell. "The industrial park in Bécancour, Quebec is quickly becoming an important future hub for EV battery materials in North America given its numerous advantages, including a deep-water port, extensive infrastructure, hydro-electric power, strong support from the Quebec government, and a qualified work force."
The Becancour industrial park, which quickly earned the name Battery Valley, has already drawn some of the biggest names in North America's burgeoning lithium-ion battery and electric vehicle sectors.
General Motors, POSCO Chemical, and BASF have announced plans to develop lithium battery cathode active materials and recycling plants in this strategic Quebec locale. These companies join Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc., a Canadian mining company that had previously announced plans to build a facility at Becancour that produces the coated spherical purified graphite that goes into the anode side of lithium-ion batteries.
Further details on the emerging battery materials park near Becancour can be found at Lithium Battery Valley emerges in Quebec in the March 16, 2022, edition of Metal Tech News.
Now, Electra has entered into preliminary talks with Quebec officials to build a cobalt refinery in Battery Valley.
To further these discussions, Electra is carrying out a study to determine the annual production requirements for a cobalt refinery that would mesh well with the other battery materials facilities being developed in the Becancour industrial park, capital costs for the facility, permitting requirements, and potential synergies from integration with other companies setting up shop in Battery Valley.
The study, slated for completion by the end of the year, will also investigate potential federal and provincial funding opportunities.
Earlier this year, Ottawa earmarked C$3.8 billion (US$2.9 billion) to fund Canada's critical minerals strategy.
The Becancour cobalt refinery study will be the first task for David Marshall, a seasoned engineer that has joined Electra Battery Materials as vice president of engineering.
Marshall spent 29 years of his 31-year engineering career with Vale, a Brazil-based mining company with operations in eight countries on five continents.
Vale's operations include mines and refineries in eastern Canada that produce nickel, copper, cobalt, platinum group metals, gold, and silver.
During his nearly three decades with Vale, Marshall served as project director for Sudbury Clean AER (atmospheric emissions reduction), a C$1 billion (US$774 million) project with a 1,000-person team aimed at reducing sulfur dioxide and metals particulate emissions from existing operations in Sudbury, Ontario. Marshall also served as project director for Vale's Copper Cliff Mine South Shaft Project, which reconditioned and refurbished existing mine workings to support future operations at the Sudbury, Ontario mine.
"We are delighted to have a senior industry executive of Dave's calibre join Electra. He brings a wealth of experience and has successfully led a number of large, multimillion dollar projects involving hundreds of personnel, contractors and suppliers, ensuring that projects were completed on time and delivered expected internal rates of return," said Mell. "Dave's first project with Electra will be completion of the Quebec study to determine the viability of a battery materials refinery in Bécancour."
Further information on Electra and its proposed battery materials park in Ontario can be read at Electra Battery Materials Park on schedule in the March 23, 2022, edition of Metal Tech News.