Electra Battery Materials announced that it has received a $5 million investment from the Government of Canada to construct North America’s first cobalt-sulfate refinery. Located in Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, the facility will produce approximately five percent of the global supply of battery-grade cobalt needed for electric vehicles (EVs).
This investment will be provided through a grant from the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor).
“Canada has surpassed China as the top jurisdiction in the global battery supply chain, given its strength in raw materials mining and processing,” said Trent Mell, Electra’s CEO. “We are grateful for this additional investment as it represents added validation of our progress and will allow Electra to continue to work toward our goal of producing secure, clean, and ethically sourced materials that are a crucial part of a sustainable future for electric vehicles in Canada.”
Pending completion, Electra’s refinery complex aims to be the first in North America to integrate the production of critical minerals, including cobalt sulfate and nickel sulfate, needed for the North American EV battery supply chain with the processing of black mass material, designed to recover high-value elements found in recycled lithium-ion batteries, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, graphite, and copper.
Throughout 2023, Electra operated a plant scale battery recycling trial at its refinery complex, processing more than 40 tonnes of black mass material and producing high-quality nickel, cobalt, and lithium products.
Once fully commissioned, the refinery could produce sufficient cobalt for up to 1.5 million EVs annually.
“Critical minerals are an essential element of the electric vehicle supply chain,” said the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister. “[The} investment from the Government of Canada means that Northern Ontario will seize the economic opportunities created by Canada’s transition to a green economy. This investment also means good-paying jobs for middle-class families in the region. This is part of our plan to build an economy in Northern Ontario that works for everyone, not just the few.”
Last summer, Electra announced that its battery-grade cobalt-sulfate agreement with LG Energy Solution, a global manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries, had been extended and expanded from initial terms. The agreement now provides for the supply of 19,000 tonnes of cobalt contained in sulfate beginning in 2025. The total will represent up to 80% of Electra’s expected annual production.
It’s estimated that the refinery complex has a current replacement cost of over $250 million. The cobalt project has been derisked through the delivery of most long lead equipment and by commissioning the legacy refinery operations for the black mass demonstration plant.
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Filed Under: Batteries, Technology News