First Cobalt Corp has awarded a contract to Metso Outotec for the design and manufacturing of solvent extraction cells as well as technical support for the layout of a new solvent extraction plant and its process control at First Cobalt’s refinery in Ontario, Canada.
The company says it received several tenders from global vendors and Metso Outotec was selected based on competitive pricing and its “technically superior” bid.
The contracted solution involves the latest advancements in solvent extraction in terms of modular design, process control and ease of installation and start up, First Cobalt says. The installation time of the modular mixer-settlers is expected to be 30% less than the conventional solvent extraction mixer-settlers used at other projects. In addition to the reduction in site install time, the footprint needed for the selected plant equipment is less than conventional solvent extraction equipment, according to the company. Metso Outotec confirmed that the solution to be supplied comes under its VSF®X solvent extraction plant, which is part of its Planet Positive product range.
Phase 1 deployment of First Cobalt’s three-phase approach to market entry, slated for the December quarter of 2022, will focus on processing cobalt hydroxide to produce a high-quality, sustainable and traceable battery-grade cobalt sulphate. Refinery studies have previously estimated it could produce 25,000 t/y of battery-grade cobalt sulphate from third-party feed.
In January 2021, the company secured long-term cobalt hydroxide feed arrangements with Glencore AG and IXM SA, a subsidiary of CMOC, to provide a total of 4,500 t/y of contained cobalt to the First Cobalt Refinery commencing in the December quarter of 2022. In March 2021, the company further de-risked the project by signing a flexible, long-term, offtake agreement with Stratton Metal Resources Ltd for the sale of future cobalt sulphate production, with quantities determined by First Cobalt.
Once operational, First Cobalt’s Refinery will be North America’s only producer of cobalt sulphate for the electric vehicle market, the company claims.
Trent Mell, President & CEO of First Cobalt, says: “We are happy to be moving forward with Metso Outotec, an industry-leading business partner. Their expertise and ability to deliver quality projects significantly de-risks our own. We move one step closer to becoming North America’s only provider of cobalt sulphate and we do not intend to stop there. Plans for our Canadian Battery Materials Park also include battery recycling, nickel sulphate production and a partnership with a battery precursor manufacturer.”