Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) (OTCMKTS:CBBHF) (FRA:COH) has taken another step towards establishing a pilot plant in Broken Hill with the delivery of a second batch of key equipment, including reactors, tanks, filters, pumps and spirals.
The Pilot Plant will inform Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) feasibility studies as well as supply cobalt product samples to the company’s global sample partner program.
Through the pilot plant, COB will test the leaching of calcined material sourced from around 100 tonnes of existing drill core in two 5-tonne campaigns.
“On track” with plant
COB CEO Joe Kaderavek said: “The second tranche of critical equipment has now been received.
“We are on track to build/commission our Pilot Plant and then commence our global sample partner program from Q1 2021.
“The project represents an exciting commitment to the Broken Hill community.”
The Pilot Plant will be modular and will be sized upwards to a Demonstration Plant by the third quarter of 2021.
A 3D impression of the pilot plant.
To produce cobalt products
This pilot facility will allow COB to produce varying specifications of cobalt products, including mixed hydroxides and sulphates, and represents a key milestone for the business.
The company’s commercial aim remains to make battery-ready cobalt sulphate from this facility on a scale sufficient to provide test samples of around 10 kilograms for global commercial partners.
COB’s second shipment of equipment includes the following items which are expected to be installed by the end of the year:
- Spirals, for concentrate production - used during processing of ore to generate pyrite concentrate;
- Reactors and storage tanks - range of capacities;
- Plate and frame pressure filters - to provide filtration capacity for secondary
- products and waste streams within the plant;
- Process pumps - a selection of liquor and slurry pumps; and
- Spares - belt filter, drive units for the pressure oxidation vessels and a replacement motor for the vacuum pump.
Leaching circuit equipment received by plant manager Adam Randall.
This follows the first shipment of equipment that arrived at the site in Broken Hill in March this year.
That shipment comprised:
- Pressure oxidation reactors and flash vessel - these are bespoke vessels, manufactured from high-grade titanium and designed to withstand the process chemistry and conditions unique to the COB technology; and
- Horizontal vacuum belt filter - this is the primary filtration equipment for use during multiple phases of operation of the Pilot and Demonstration Plants.
Larger plant to follow
Results from the pilot operations will be used to design a larger Demonstration Plant and provide early confirmation of inputs in the BHCP feasibility study.
COB’s development timeline.
COB intends to operate the 1:1000 scale Demonstration Plant in the second half of 2021, focusing on calcining cobalt-pyrite concentrate for the production of sulphur and an integrated hydrometallurgical circuit for leaching calcine and recovery of cobalt and sulphur.
‘Steady-state’ data collected from operations will be used in the project feasibility study to confirm the process recoveries of cobalt and sulphur.
As part of these activities, larger sample cobalt and sulphur products will be generated for assessment by potential commercial partners.