Metals Update 22/07/2021

First Cobalt recovers Li, Ni from recycled batteries

First Cobalt Corp. has successfully extracted nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese, lithium and graphite from a black mass product recovered from recycled batteries. Black mass represents the main chemical composition of the battery and is obtained after removal of the mechanical housing of the battery. Work is now under way to leverage the existing operating permits, flow sheet and equipment at First Cobalt’s Canadian hydrometallurgical refinery to become the first facility to recycle battery materials on a large scale for reintroduction into the electric vehicle battery supply chain.

Highlights

  • To date there is no operating facility in North America that can recover each of nickel, cobalt, copper, lithium, graphite and manganese from black mass on a large scale, continuous production basis.
  • The company’s refinery in Canada has existing refining capabilities (size and scale) to produce separate products containing nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese. With flow sheet modifications, recovery of lithium and graphite can also be achieved.
  • Metallurgical test work was conducted by SGS Labs on black mass material provided by upstream battery recyclers in the United States and Europe. Bench-scale testing has demonstrated expected extractions of lithium, nickel, cobalt, copper, manganese and graphite.
  • A global engineering firm has been retained to study the leaching of black mass within the existing refinery to produce nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese products using the existing flow sheet and to produce lithium and graphite products with recommended modifications.
  • Completion of the engineering study is expected in Q4. Upon successful completion of the study, the company intends to process black mass at the refinery facility on a pilot basis.
  • First Cobalt’s near-term strategy is to leverage its existing processing facilities to process black mass and recover payable metals. Longer term, the company intends to produce battery-grade materials for reintroduction into the electric vehicle supply chain.
  • Discussions have been initiated with provincial regulatory authorities to permit the processing of black mass at its facility.

“Demonstrating our ability to recycle lithium-ion batteries is an important step in our journey to be the most sustainable producer of battery materials,” said president and chief executive officer Trent Mell. “There are many producers of black mass in the Western world but few environmentally friendly options to then refine the product into battery-grade material given the capital expenditure required and the permitting timeline associated with building a hydrometallurgical facility such as ours. We intend to capitalize on this first-mover advantage and leverage our position as an ultralow carbon operation.”

First Cobalt continues to study the treatment and recovery of battery metals known as black mass from recycled EV (electric vehicle) and consumer electronics batteries. When lithium-ion batteries reach their end of life, they are dismantled and the part containing the electrodes is crushed or shredded to produce a powdery fraction referred to as black mass. This mechanical process then requires a refining solution to separate and recover each of the metals. In a world increasingly focused on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance), the superior approach is to use a hydrometallurgical refining process rather than pyrometallurgy, due in part to the lower carbon footprint and potential to recover a significant portion of the battery chemical components. First Cobalt is well positioned to serve this growing market through its Canadian facility.

The First Cobalt refinery is a hydrometallurgical refinery located north of Toronto, in the community of Temiskaming Shores. The facility operated from 1996 to 2015, producing cobalt, nickel, copper and silver products. The company is modifying the flow sheet under a phase 1 expansion to refine third party cobalt hydroxide intermediate product into a high-purity, battery-grade cobalt sulphate suitable for the electric vehicle market. Today, approximately 80 per cent of cobalt sulphate is made in China and there is no production in North America. Under a phase 2 expansion, the refinery is expected to process black mass feed from recycled batteries. Longer term, the company’s vision is to establish a battery park that would include large-scale production of nickel sulphate and the co-location of a battery precursor manufacturer.

In December, 2020, the government of Canada and the government of Ontario announced a joint $10-million investment in the First Cobalt refinery to help accelerate commissioning and expansion.

Idaho land acquisition update

On May 11, 2021, the company announced the acquisition of the West Fork property in Idaho from DG Resource Management. The company wishes to clarify that the total compensation paid was $50,000 in cash and 225,000 (not 250,000 as previously announced) common shares of First Cobalt.

The Q Onboards Nestlé As New Advertiser

MUMBAI, India and TORONTO, July 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ – QYOU Media Inc. (TSXV: QYOU) (OTCQB: QYOUF) has announced that The Q India, the company’s Hindi language youth oriented channel available in over 100 million TV households and to over 612 million  OTT and mobile users in India, has added Nestlé, the world’s largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company, to its growing list of blue chip advertisers who have commenced ad campaigns on The Q over the last fifteen weeks. Other new advertisers include top ten pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline and Parle Biscuits, the world’s largest biscuit producer.  In total, The Q has added fifteen new major brands as advertisers on the channel since April 2021 as it climbed to an average Gross Rating Points (GRP) level of 45 GRP during this same time frame, making it the fastest growing TV channel in India.

New brands that have begun to advertise on The Q during this fifteen week span include (alphabetically) Abbot,  Amazon, Bajaj Consumer, Britannia, Cipla, Himalaya Drug Company, Galactus (Mobile Premier League), GlaxoSmithKline, Nestlé, Unilever, P&G, Parle Biscuits, Pepsi, Reckitt Benckiser and Wipro.  With the addition of Nestlé, The Q channel now boasts advertisement agreements with the top four FMCG companies in the world.

Nestlé first entered the India market in 1912 and began doing business as Nestlé  India in 1959.  The Company’s activities in India have facilitated direct and indirect employment and provides livelihood to about one million people including farmers, suppliers of packaging materials, services and other goods. Included in the many company brands now sold in India are Nescafe, Maggi, Milkybar, Kit Kat, Bar-One, Milkmaid and Nestea.

The remarkable addition of fifteen new major ad partners in less than four months continues to be driven by the massive growth of viewership and ratings achieved by The Q which has now recorded an average of over 45 GRP for fifteen consecutive weeks (as measured by BARC…the Nielsen of India).  This has resulted in The Q sharing company with many of the largest mainstream channels in India owned by media giants including Star (Disney), Sony, Viacom and Zee. The company has previously stated the direct relationship between BARC ratings results and increased ad sales.

Curt Marvis, QYOU Media CEO and Co-Founder added, “Adding Nestle, GSK and Parle continues to demonstrate our strong momentum with ad sales and revenue growth. Led by our CEO, Simran Hoon, we’ve bolstered our team with top ad sales talent and are committed to driving towards long term agreements now that we have proven the sustained popularity of the channel.”

The Q India is an advertiser and influencer marketing supported Hindi language content brand, channel and VOD provider delivering hit digital programming from social media stars and leading digital video creators targeting Young Indian audiences.  The channel has recently become one of India’s fastest growing youth entertainment brands averaging over 45 (GRP) on BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) for fifteen consecutive weeks beginning in April 2021. With a growing library of over 1100 programs, the channel reaches an audience of over 712 million via over 100 million television homes with partners including DD Free Dish, TATA Sky, DISH TV, SitiNetworks, Den Networks and Hathway; 380 million OTT users via platforms including ShemarooMe, MX Player and Dish Watcho; and 232 million users on mobile and digital platforms including Snap, JioTV, Airtel Xstream, Amazon Fire TV, Chingari and Samsung TV Plus.