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November 8, 2021updated 10 Nov 2021 3:44pm

First Cobalt plans to build EV battery materials facility in Canada

Changing its name to Electra Battery Materials, the firm expects the new plant to help meet the surging EV demand.

Canada-based First Cobalt is planning to build a specialist facility to produce electric vehicle (EV) battery materials such as cathode chemicals in Ontario.

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How is the Mining industry adopting electric technologies?

As miners strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many, particularly those with underground mines, are beginning to invest in battery-powered and electric-powered mining fleets. As of March 2022, GlobalData was tracking 207 trolley assist trucks operating on surface mines across the globe. Based on our analysis, the largest population of trolley assist trucks was in Zambia, followed by Namibia and Panama. In the same time frame, GlobalData was also tracking 157 electric loaders (LHDs) and 45 electric trucks operating in underground mines across the globe. Our analysis revealed that the combined largest population of electric LHDs and trucks was in Canada, followed by Russia, Sweden and Australia. Our report provides:
  • A summary of specific battery/electric surface and underground equipment – namely trolley trucks, underground mining trucks and underground LHDs
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  • Active electric LHDs and trucks population worldwide by country & mine
  • Number of electric LHDs & trucks operated by miner
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The firm has also changed its name to Electra Battery Materials.

The new plant is expected to help meet the increasing demand from automakers to boost their electric-powered offerings.

These vehicles are powered by lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, which require materials such as cobalt and nickel.

Said to be the only integrated battery materials complex in North America, the Electra facility will be equipped to produce battery-grade nickel and cobalt, as well as precursor chemicals.

First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell said: “Globalisation has created an electric vehicle supply chain that is too long, too costly and increasingly unreliable.

“Our automaker clients have a strong interest in greater localisation of the upstream supply chain to achieve greater reliability, security of long-term supply, and a lower carbon footprint.”

Planned to be developed in four phases, the new plant’s first phase will see the expansion of an existing refinery complex to produce battery-grade cobalt. It is to be commissioned at the end of next year.

Phase II of the plant involves the recovery of lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper and graphite by treating battery materials from the cathode and anode of lithium batteries.

The company plans to leverage existing plant equipment, which previously recovered nickel, copper and cobalt.

A demonstration plant is to be commissioned next year with plans for commercial-scale treating of black mass from batteries in 2023.

Under Phase III, the firm will build a modular nickel sulfate plant, which will have an initial production capacity of 60,000t of nickel.

The fourth phase involves the construction of a battery precursor materials plant in 2025.

The Canadian firm is currently in talks with suppliers to secure raw material for its new nickel sulphate facility.

First Cobalt commercial vice-president Michael Insulan said: “Electra intends to become the first regional refiner capable of providing these materials in bulk through a modular plant design.”

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Free Report
img

How is the Mining industry adopting electric technologies?

As miners strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, many, particularly those with underground mines, are beginning to invest in battery-powered and electric-powered mining fleets. As of March 2022, GlobalData was tracking 207 trolley assist trucks operating on surface mines across the globe. Based on our analysis, the largest population of trolley assist trucks was in Zambia, followed by Namibia and Panama. In the same time frame, GlobalData was also tracking 157 electric loaders (LHDs) and 45 electric trucks operating in underground mines across the globe. Our analysis revealed that the combined largest population of electric LHDs and trucks was in Canada, followed by Russia, Sweden and Australia. Our report provides:
  • A summary of specific battery/electric surface and underground equipment – namely trolley trucks, underground mining trucks and underground LHDs
  • Active population of trolley assist and battery-powered trucks worldwide by country & mine
  • Active electric LHDs and trucks population worldwide by country & mine
  • Number of electric LHDs & trucks operated by miner
Download this report to better understand the rise of electric vehicles in mining and pinpoint investment opportunities.
by GlobalData
Enter your details here to receive your free Report.

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