Electra secures $5mn grant for cobalt refining ramp-up

North America's first cobalt refinery will supply 5pc of the EV's industry's demand

Electra secures $5mn grant for cobalt refining ramp-up
Electra is one player in the expanding Ontario automotive technology cluster

Canadian minerals firm Electra Battery Materials has secured a $5mn grant from the Government of Canada towards the construction of North America’s first cobalt sulphate refinery.

Electra says the facility – located in Temiskaming Shores, Ontario – will produce approximately 5pc of the global supply of battery grade cobalt needed for electric vehicles.

The cobalt refined at the facility will likely supply South Korean battery firm LG Energy Solutions, with whom Electra signed a supply deal in July 2023.

The agreement provides for the supply of 19,000 tonnes of cobalt contained in sulphate from 2025-2030, representing up to 80pc of Electra’s expected annual production.

In a separate venture, Electra launched a black mass recycling pilot in 2022 in Ontario and extended the project in October after findings from a trial exceeded expectations.

The company has not yet salvaged battery-grade material from the operation. However it has recovered high-quality nickel-cobalt mixed hydroxide precipitate (MHP), a diluted nickel product which can be used as a cathode material for lithium iron phosphate battery cells.

The firm has also begun shipments of lower-grade recycled lithium to German-Canadian refining firm Rock Tech.

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A recent Bloomberg NEF report found that Canada has displaced China as the world's leading battery supply chain.

“Canada has surpassed China as the top jurisdiction in the global battery supply chain, given its strength in raw materials mining and processing,” says Electra CEO Trent Mell. “Today’s announcement from the government of Canada demonstrates its continued commitment to building a strong, domestic EV supply chain."

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