Federal, provincial governments invest $10 million in North America’s first cobalt refinery

·2 min read

The provincial and federal governments are investing $10 million in North America’s first cobalt refinery located in North American.

FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) will each invest $5 million into the project, which will accelerate domestic production of battery-grade cobalt sulfate, a required element needed to produce long-range electric vehicles.

The company said the funding will support restart of the refinery, estimated to cost $77 million.

The investment will create over 100 full-time jobs, improve Canada’s supply chain, and reduce import dependency for electric vehicle battery production.

“New technologies and high-growth sectors are leading to an increased demand for critical minerals and Ontario is uniquely positioned to meet this demand. Our government’s investment in First Cobalt Corporation is supporting North America’s first and only cobalt sulphate producer,” said Greg Rickford, minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.

“Northern Ontario is a global leader in mineral production and processing, and our government is proud to support this vital sector to create good jobs and opportunities for communities across Northern Ontario.”

Provided through FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program and the NOHFC, the money will enable First Cobalt Corporation to recommission and expand its hydrometallurgical cobalt refinery.

The refinery is located in North Cobalt about 142 km northeast of Sudbury.

Once complete, the facility will be capable of producing 25,000 tonnes of battery-grade cobalt sulfate annually, which represents 5 per cent of the global market for refined cobalt.

“The electric vehicle revolution is powered by cobalt and we are thrilled to partner with the governments of Canada and Ontario to expand and recommission our Northern Ontario refinery bringing long-term, well-paying jobs to the community,” said Trent Mell, president and CEO of First Cobalt Corporation.

“Global demand for cobalt is increasing as EVs become more widely adopted. Once fully operational, our refinery will be the only source of domestic cobalt for the North American EV industry.

“Our value-added processing facility will support the North American and European auto sector with ethically-sourced, low carbon cobalt that will power electric vehicles now and into the future.”

Mining and related industries employ more than 625,000 people across the country and contribute as much as $97 billion a year to Canada’s GDP.

With one of the largest concentrations of mining and related businesses in Canada, Northern Ontario’s mining industry is a key economic driver that fuels social and economic growth, while creating jobs and opportunities for families throughout the region.

This investment also helps advance the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan for Critical Minerals Collaboration, by strengthening the North American supply chain security for this critical battery mineral.

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

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Twitter: @SudburyStar

Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star