Canadian Manufacturing

First Cobalt provides update on Canadian Refinery commissioning

The First Cobalt Refinery is a hydrometallurgical refinery located north of Toronto, in the community of Temiskaming Shores.

May 17, 2021  by CM Staff

Figure 1. Isometric sketch of First Cobalt’s cobalt crystallizer (CNW Group/First Cobalt Corp.)

TORONTO — On May 17, First Cobalt Corp. provided an update on the expansion and recommissioning of its low carbon footprint hydrometallurgical refinery north of Toronto. The Company remains on schedule to recommission the facility in the fourth quarter of 2022.

  • Contract to construct the cobalt sulfate crystallizer has been awarded and will be built in the United States
  • New Permit to Take Water issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, allowing the project team to mobilize to site to restore power to the refinery complex and prepare for upcoming construction activities
  • First Cobalt’s owner’s team continues to grow with the addition of a Site Services Superintendent and Environmental Superintendent
  • Scholarship program launched to support local indigenous and non-indigenous high school graduates pursuing higher education
  • Lender discussions for a US$45 million debt facility are advancing, supplemented by C$18 million in current working capital plus an additional C$10 million investment by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario towards the refinery capital costs

“Thanks to the focus and hard work of the First Cobalt team, we continue to execute our strategic business plan and remain on schedule for 2022 commissioning,” said Mark Trevisiol, Vice President, Project Development. “Ordering the cobalt crystallizer in a timely manner was an important step on the construction schedule and the focus now shifts to the solvent extraction vendor package.

The cobalt sulfate crystallizer will be built in the United States and shipped to site in less than 44 weeks. This equipment is the last step in First Cobalt’s hydrometallurgical refining process and takes cobalt concentrated in an aqueous solution into a powder called cobalt sulfate.

A crystallizer consists of various mechanical components including heat exchangers, pumps, piping, dryers and evaporators. They are assembled in a manner to allow for optimum processing and maintenance conditions. This unit will span several operating floors within the processing plant and will be the tallest structure on site (Figure 1).

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The Company and Ausenco Engineering Canada are now working on detailed engineering and procurement of the last two long lead equipment orders: solvent extraction tanks and filters.