First Cobalt Corp has announced that it has awarded key contracts to complete a 55 tonnes per day (tpd) feasibility study on the proposed expansion to the First Cobalt Refinery. Field work is expected to commence in September and will culminate in the delivery of a definitive feasibility study (DFS) in Q1 2020.

Ausenco Engineering Canada Inc. to lead in the preparation of a DFS for a refinery restart at 55 tpd with contracts awarded to:

    • SGS for advanced metallurgical test work on cobalt hydroxide and a specialty cobalt feed to be supplied by Glencore
    • Knight Piésold for tailings studies in support of the feasibility study
    • Story Environmental for all environmental and permitting aspects of the engineering studies

First Cobalt recently announced that it had entered into a $5 million loan facility with Glencore AG to complete advanced engineering, metallurgical testing, field work and permitting associated with a recommissioning and expansion of the refinery in Canada. Upon completion of a positive DFS for a refinery expansion in Q1 2020 and subject to certain other terms and conditions, Glencore is prepared to advance an additional $40 million to recommission and expand the refinery.

Ausenco of Toronto has been retained to prepare various engineering studies in support of restarting and expanding the Refinery, located near Cobalt, Ontario. Three engineering studies will be completed, which will include an interim scenario for restarting the Refinery at its current capacity of 12 tpd in a PFS as well as a DFS on expanding the refinery at a throughput of approximately 55 tpd. These two options roughly correspond to scenarios outlined in a scoping-level study previously completed by Ausenco. A third study will examine a scenario of first restarting production at 12 tpd and subsequently increasing throughput to 55 tpd. Work related to the tailing management facility for the DFS will be completed by Knight Piésold of North Bay, Ontario.

SGS of Lakefield, Ontario has been selected to complete advanced metallurgical test work on cobalt hydroxide and a specialty cobalt feed, both supplied by Glencore. First Cobalt previously partnered with SGS to produce a high purity battery-grade cobalt from cobalt hydroxide using the existing First Cobalt Refinery flow sheet. SGS and Ausenco will work collaboratively to further optimise the flowsheet in support of the engineering studies. SGS will also perform the necessary environmental test work on the tailings that result from the process.

Story Environmental of Haileybury, Ontario will be responsible for the environmental and permitting aspects of all three engineering studies. Story Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services for the Refinery since 2008 and, as such, is knowledgeable of the Refinery infrastructure, its surrounding environment and the environmental regulatory requirements. Initially, this work is expected to focus on the 12 tpd restart scenario for which the refinery is currently permitted.

Work will commence almost immediately with a field program at the refinery. The field program will consist of a small crew supplied by Ausenco who will test and inspect installed equipment and systems to gain a better understanding of the condition of every aspect of the Refinery with a view to identifying which components require upgrading or replacement.

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16th September 2019