Electra Battery Materials Corporation has received a $5 million investment from the Government of Canada towards the construction of North America’s first cobalt sulphate refinery.

The facility, located in Temiskaming Shores, Ontario, will produce approximately five percent of the global supply of battery grade cobalt needed for electric vehicles.

The investment will be provided in the form of a grant from the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor).

Trent Mell, Electra’s CEO said: “Canada has surpassed China as the top jurisdiction in the global battery supply chain, given its strength in raw materials mining and processing.”

Pending completion, Electra’s refinery complex aims to be the first in North America to integrate the production of critical minerals.

These include cobalt sulphate and nickel sulphate, needed for the North American electric vehicle battery supply chain with the processing of black mass material, recovering high value elements found in recycled lithium-ion batteries such as lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese.

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Anthony Rota, Member of Parliament for Nipissing-Timiskaming, said: “The Government of Canada, through FedNor, is working hard to expand the electric vehicle supply chain right here in Northern Ontario.”

Throughout 2023, Electra operated a plant scale battery recycling trial at its refinery complex, processing more than 40 tonnes of black mass material.

Once fully commissioned, the refinery could produce sufficient cobalt for up to 1.5 million electric vehicles annually.

On July 24, 2023 Electra announced that its battery grade cobalt sulphate agreement with LG Energy Solution, a leading 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 sulphate beginning in 2025. The total will represent up to 80% of Electra’s expected annual production.

It is estimated that the refinery complex has a current replacement cost of over $250 million.