Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) has launched a Cobalt Product Sample Program through which cobalt products and sulphur samples from a metallurgical testing centre will be provided to top-tier companies in the cobalt-for-battery supply chain.
The company is establishing a new testing centre in Broken Hill from which varying specifications of cobalt products, including mixed hydroxides and sulphates, will be produced for potential commercial partners.
Samples for assessment
Agreements are in place with a number of top-tier global companies and the aim of COB’s new program is to provide samples for technical and market assessments.
The first stage of the metallurgical testing centre will be a pilot plant for which key components have arrived in Australia for transport to Broken Hill.
Initial pilot plant
This initial plant, which will produce at least 100 kilograms of cobalt sulphate, will then be upgraded to a larger-scale, fully integrated demonstration plant producing 1-2 tonnes of cobalt sulphate from processing up to 2,000 tonnes of ore.
Near-term pilot plant operations are planned to begin mid-year at about the same time that an ore reserve update for the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) will be released.
First products in mid-year
COB expects the sulphur/cobalt sample program will produce first products in May and July respectively and the company COB expects to ship samples to 10 partners including cobalt trading companies and battery precursor manufacturers.
The results from the testing centre will form the basis for the engineering designs and cost estimates for the BHCP feasibility study.
Partnership with LG International
COB has a strategic First Mover partnership with LG International (LGI), the resources investment arm of LG Corporation.
This relationship already includes the supply of cobalt sulphate and other intermediates as test samples.
Historically, LGI has specialised in global mining investment and operations and has now extended its focus to include ‘Green Minerals’, the raw materials of lithium-ion battery construction such as cobalt, nickel and lithium.
LGI operates in close cooperation with LG Chem to secure green minerals for the LG Group.
Mitsubishi trial program
COB also has a sulphur marketing trial program with Mitsubishi Corporation, a global sulphur and sulphuric acid market trader that holds a large share of the Asian market.
As part of this program, COB intends to produce up to 100 tonnes of elemental sulphur from bulk metallurgical test work trials over the period to December 31, 2020.
The company has entered into an agreement with Mitsubishi to conduct marketing trials for the elemental sulphur.
If these trials are successful, it is then the intention of both parties to negotiate an offtake contract for the commercial production and sale of elemental sulphur from the BHCP.