Electra begins preliminary discussions to build cobalt refinery in North America
Electra Battery Materials Corporation has begun preliminary discussions with the Government of Quebec to build a new cobalt refinery in Bécancour, Quebec, that will integrate with an emerging battery materials park in the province. The cobalt refinery is part of Electra's growth strategy in support of the onshoring of electric vehicle supply chains in North America.
"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 Trent Mell, CEO of Electra Battery Materials. "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 workforce. In light of the considerable progress Electra has made towards commissioning its first cobalt sulfate refinery north of Toronto, we are a logical partner for the Bécancour industrial park."
Bécancour is emerging as an important hub for the supply of low-carbon battery materials to the EV supply chain in North America. The Bécancour industrial park has attracted commitments and investments from global automotive and chemical processing companies to establish facilities to produce precursor cathode active materials (PCAM) and cathode active materials (CAM) essential in the production of lithium-ion batteries. Materials needed for PCAM and CAM production would originate from nickel and cobalt sulfate refineries not yet available in the Bécancour industrial park.
In support of the preliminary discussions the company has undertaken with the Government of Québec, Electra will undertake a study to determine annual production requirements for the industrial park, capital costs for the refinery, flow sheet modifications for alternate sources of feed material, permitting requirements, synergies from integration with other battery materials companies in Bécancour, and potential funding opportunities from the federal and provincial levels of government.
Earlier this year, the Canadian government earmarked C$3.8 billion for the development of a Critical Minerals Strategy. Electra's study is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
Electra has also appointed David Marshall as vice president of engineering. David Marshall has 31 years of experience in the industry with extensive experience in engineering studies, project management, and project delivery for mineral processing and mining operations. He spent 29 years with Vale in a number of senior project management roles, including project director for the Sudbury Clean AER Project, a C$1 billion project with a 1,000-person team aimed at reducing sulphur dioxide and metals particulate emissions from existing operations in Sudbury. Marshall was also project director for the Copper Cliff Mine South Shaft Project, a project aimed at reconditioning and refurbishing existing mine workings to support future operations. Most recently, he was a project manager with BBA Consultants.
In accordance with the company's long-term incentive plan, Electra has given David Marshall incentive stock options to purchase an aggregate of 30,000 common shares of Electra exercisable at the previous day's closing price of $4.38 for a period of five years. The stock options will vest in three equal tranches on the first, second, and third anniversary of the grant date.