The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Regeneration and Cobalt Blue address waste

Metal Tech News - April 1, 2024

Partnership addresses various options to create value in mining waste through remining and restoration.

Regeneration Enterprises and Cobalt Blue have partnered up to tackle the growing inventory of legacy mine sites and waste. The partnership's projects are expected to transform these sites into ecological assets by producing much-needed green energy minerals through climate-positive means. The focus is on identifying new value in waste by remining and restoring sites, supporting biodiversity, and helping communities.

"There is power in partnership," said Regeneration's Founder and CEO Stephen D'Esposito. "Our technology partners are essential. With them we bring value to communities, restore sites, and develop unique products for our downstream partners. This partnership will help bring this solution to legacy mines, creating a win-win."

Regeneration will apply the proprietary minerals processing technology included in Cobalt Blue's suite of technical solutions and services at qualifying legacy mine sites.

"A key to success for Regeneration is innovation and technology curation, by building a portfolio of partnership technologies, like Cobalt Blue's, we fill a market and social gap, and accelerate their application to mine waste," said Regeneration's Chief Innovation Officer John Thompson. "Our strategy is to match the best technology to each site."

Cobalt Blue will share site opportunities that fit Regeneration's restoration and remining focus. Together, the parties will seek out opportunities to re-commercialize pyrite and other waste streams from legacy and active mining sites, seeking deposits around the world.

Through remining, reprocessing, and restoration of mine sites, Regeneration is establishing greener operations and will continue to partner up with sustainable brands in several jurisdictions.

Cobalt Blue's Project Acquisition Manager, Helen Degeling, is well-versed in Australia's legacy mine sites and will lead the work in developing commercial contacts throughout the European Union. (Rio Tinto is an investor and a site and technology partner.)

"We have been assessing site opportunities for reprocessing mine waste into commercially viable outcomes," said Degeling. "We see great potential in exploring shared projects where there is a compatibility between Cobalt Blue's processing technology and Regeneration's capacity for restoration and nature-based solutions."

The scale of opportunity

The 2022 International Council on Mining and Metals Roadmap for Tailings Reduction estimates that nearly 10 billion metric tons of tailings were produced worldwide in 2018 across the six traditional commodities of aluminum, gold, coal, iron ore, nickel, and copper.

Cobalt Blue has developed and proven the capability of its patented minerals processing technology for treating pyrite, demonstrating an economic recovery of cobalt and elemental sulfur. The company is now developing the feasibility study for its Broken Hill Cobalt Project in New South Wales, Australia.

Cobalt Blue's mine-to-market strategy also includes the Cobalt in Waste Streams Project, a global mine waste reprocessing and restoration initiative, and an up-and-coming cobalt-nickel refinery in Western Australia to produce responsibly sourced, battery-grade cobalt.

The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and European Union Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) both provide incentives to source materials responsibly while encouraging advancement of a critical minerals supply chain between the allied nations of Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and EU.

"Cobalt Blue sees an enormous opportunity contained in tailings, where traditional mining value chains have long viewed waste as a liability," said Degeling. "With the vast number of pending mine closures and un-rehabilitated sites in Australia, the scope is immense. The potential in Europe is even more significant, with active and inactive mine sites representing thousands of years of mining."


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