Glencore to supply cobalt feedstock to restart First Cobalt refinery in Canada

FILE PHOTO: The logo of commodities trader Glencore is pictured in front of the company's headquarters in Baar, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

(Reuters) - Glencore Plc will supply cobalt feedstock to restart First Cobalt Corp’s refinery in Canada, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday.

Glencore’s unit plans to provide feedstock for the refinery, which is expected to result in an annual production of about 2,000 to 2,500 tonnes per annum of cobalt in sulfate from the refinery.

The First Cobalt refinery in Ontario, 600 km from the U.S. border, has the potential to produce either a cobalt sulfate for the lithium-ion battery market or cobalt metal for the North American industrial and military applications.

Once operational, the refinery would become the only North American producer of refined cobalt for electric vehicle market.

Glencore said it will also evaluate providing a loan to fund the capital needs to restart the refinery, and the two companies will look to speed up the restart.

The refinery could be operational in 18-24 months and discussions are under way with provincial government officials to streamline and accelerate the permit amendment process, the companies said.

A final decision on whether to put the First Cobalt Refinery back into production has not yet been made and any decision depends on the outcome of the ongoing discussions and studies, the companies said.

Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur