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Electra Battery Materials and Eurasian Resources Group enter cobalt supply agreement

Electra Battery Materials Corporation and Eurasian Resources Group S.A.R.L. , a prominent diversified natural resources group based in Luxembourg, have officially inked a binding letter of intent for the long-term supply of cobalt hydroxide from ERG to North America’s premier battery grade cobalt sulfate refinery. Set to take effect on April 1, 2024, this agreement underscores efforts to localize the battery supply chain and diminish dependence on foreign refiners.

Commencing in 2026, the three-year supply agreement will see ERG delivering 3,000 tonnes annually of IRA-compliant cobalt to Electra’s refinery located north of Toronto. With this deal, Electra secures adequate cobalt hydroxide feed material to meet its refinery’s annual capacity.

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The cobalt will originate from ERG’s Metalkol operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, one of the world’s largest cobalt hydroxide facilities. Additional collaboration is being considered for Electra’s plans to construct a second cobalt refinery in Bécancour, Quebec.

Under the United States Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), electric vehicles containing critical minerals sourced from Foreign Entities of Concern will not qualify for the US$7,500 electric vehicle credit starting in 2025. These measures aim to bolster the strategic imperative of establishing a domestic EV battery supply chain in the U.S. and Canada.

Trent Mell, CEO of Electra, emphasized the importance of partnering with a reputed leader in sustainable mining practices to produce secure, clean, and ethically sourced battery materials. He expressed pride in having ERG, a top cobalt hydroxide supplier, as a partner.

Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of ERG and Co-Chair of the Global Battery Alliance, highlighted ERG’s commitment to supporting the green energy transition and supplying ethically produced cobalt hydroxide to meet North America’s cobalt demand.

ERG’s cobalt hydroxide, an intermediate product from mining operations, serves as the preferred feedstock for refining battery-grade cobalt sulfate. Notably, ERG’s cobalt has a low carbon footprint as it is produced from historic tailings, and the electrical grid used across their facilities is primarily hydroelectric.

Electra’s refinery complex, upon completion, aims to be North America’s first to integrate the production of critical minerals necessary for the electric vehicle battery supply chain and the processing of black mass material to recover high-value elements from recycled lithium-ion batteries. The refinery, once fully commissioned, could produce sufficient cobalt for up to 1.5 million electric vehicles annually.

Electra’s low carbon hydrometallurgical refinery in Canada is permitted and has a current replacement value of approximately US$200 million, requiring an additional US$60 million to complete construction. The cobalt project has been derisked through the delivery of most long lead equipment and commissioning of the legacy refinery operations for the black mass demonstration plant.

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