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First Cobalt announces name change and expands strategic plan

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Global Mining Review,

First Cobalt Corp. has announced that it is expanding its strategic plan to provide battery grade nickel and cobalt, recycled battery materials and precursor material to the North American supply chain.

The new business model would result in the creation of the only battery materials park on the continent, providing North American automakers with direct access to a secure domestic source of low carbon raw materials.

To better reflect the company’s vision, First Cobalt Corp. will change its name to Electra Battery Materials Corp. The name change, which remains subject to shareholder approval, is reportedly being made to better reflect the strategic positioning of the company, in addition to more clearly communicating the company’s long-term value proposition for customers, investors, and other stakeholders.

Electra Battery Materials is currently expanding a permitted hydrometallurgical refinery north of Toronto to produce 5000 t of cobalt starting in 4Q22. The company has also been testing black mass feeds from recycled batteries and will be announcing results from test work and engineering studies in the coming weeks.

Global consultancy firm CRU has been retained to complete a nickel market study, which will assess market conditions for a battery grade nickel sulfate plant in North America. Results from this study will support ongoing discussions with potential providers of nickel feed material as well as engineering studies for a future low carbon nickel plant, capitalising on an existing hydrometallurgical plant, hydroelectric power, and seasoned construction and processing teams. Development of similar integrated battery material complexes in Europe and Asia have resulted in the construction of precursor cathode active material (PCAM) plants co-located adjacent to integrated refining facilities, as operational efficiencies can significantly lower the cost of battery cells.

Trent Mell, President & CEO, comments:

“Globalisation has created an electric vehicle supply chain that is too long, too costly, and increasingly unreliable.

“Our automaker clients have a strong interest in greater localisation of the upstream supply chain to achieve greater reliability, security of long-term supply, and a lower carbon footprint. With the continent’s rich mineral endowment, the rationale for supplying battery materials through Asia into a growing US EV market is not sustainable. Electra will act as a bridge between North American electric vehicles and a North American source of primary and recycled material, providing a low carbon solution for zero emission vehicles.

“We see serious strains in the automotive supply chain and we are still in the early innings of EV adoption. Beneath the surface are several other factors that are of concern, including carbon emissions associated with the current supply chain, resource nationalism, geopolitics, and a race to secure raw material to power the vehicles of tomorrow.”

Electra’s refinery is 100% powered by clean, hydroelectric power from Ontario Power Generation, resulting in nearly zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Michael Insulan, Vice President, Commercial, comments:

“There have been several new battery plant announcements over the past few months in North America, adding to a pipeline already exceeding 500 GWh. These plants are going to require thousands of tonnes of locally sourced raw materials. Electra intends to become the first regional refiner capable of providing these materials in bulk through a modular plant design. To keep up with a rapidly evolving market, we can and must do more for the circular economy and through localised primary feeds, resulting in more jobs and investments in our home market.”

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