Electra Battery Materials Corporation updated the construction of North America's only battery grade cobalt refinery. It said that the foundation work for the solvent extraction plant had begun. The project stays on budget and on time for completion in December 2022.
Health, safety, and the environment remain significant priorities at the refinery, with no lost time events and no reportable spills or exceedances.
The budget for project control has been maintained at US$67 million (C$84 million), and commissioning is scheduled for December 2022.
The new solvent extraction building's construction has progressed with concrete pouring for the foundations. Late last year, the plant's earthworks were completed. The pre-engineered structure is projected to be completed by the end of April.
All equipment with a long lead time has been ordered.
The verification of brownfield mechanical equipment is 77% complete, with all significant existing equipment having been examined. The existing mechanical/electrical and instrumentation equipment performed admirably, requiring minor changes when tested.
The construction of the cobalt crystallizer circuit will commence in the following weeks, with critical equipment arriving on site between April and June.
"Our team has been focused on both the recommissioning of our existing refinery equipment and preparing the site for the construction of the new solvent extraction and crystallizer plant facilities, These are important milestones and a credit to our project owner's team and our consultants who continue to demonstrate a disciplined commitment to executing this project. With no lost-time incidents at site, we continue to stress our values on health and safety, which speaks to the commitment of our team to delivering the project with zero lost time incidents in parallel with being on time and on budget."
Mark Trevisiol, Vice President, Project Development
"Canada is becoming a key player in the midstream of the North American electric vehicle supply chain," said Trent Mell, CEO. "Recent investment decisions by some of the largest players in the EV industry continue to validate our early-mover strategy. While our team continues to deliver on the recommissioning of the refinery, we are aggressively pursuing commercial partnerships and growth opportunities to deliver value to shareholders."
Electra intends to develop a fully integrated battery materials park through the use of its hydrometallurgical refinery. In addition, Electra intends to develop a Battery Materials Park with cobalt and nickel sulfate manufacturing facilities, a large-scale lithium-ion battery recycling facility, and a battery precursor materials partnership to support North American and European electric vehicles production.
Existing supply chain constraints have been worsened further in the last month by the emergence of COVID in China and Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. In the procurement process, Electra took a deliberate decision to acquire long-lead components from nations thought less likely to encounter supply chain disruptions. This has shown to be a prudent technique, as our current schedule remains consistent with the original. While this was difficult to foresee, management believes that effective equipment delivery to the refinery is substantially on time. While the spike in commodity prices is not expected to affect overall capital expenses at the moment, management is constantly monitoring the situation and believes that any impact, if any, will be small.
Electra's business goal is to manufacture enough battery materials annually to power up to 1.5 million electric vehicles. The Company is on track to commission its cobalt sulfate facility in Q4 2022. The cobalt factory will be the first of four phases of the development of Electra's Battery Materials Park. In addition, Electra wants to expand its nickel sulfate processing capacity in the following years and recycle primary and secondary battery scrap materials and precursor production.