Cobalt Blue’s (ASX:COB) $560 million Broken Hill Cobalt Project has received ‘major project status’ from the Federal Government as it prepares to expand downstream production of the key battery metal.
The project is expected to produce 16,700 tonnes of high-purity cobalt sulphate per year, which will be used by lithium-ion battery manufacturers servicing the burgeoning EV market.
Speaking on the news, Cobalt Blue CEO Joe Kaderavek said: “Granting Major Project Status to the Broken Hill Cobalt Project will greatly assist COB to raise development capital by recognising the strategic importance given to this Project by the Australian Government. This milestone is critically important for overseas partners and well timed in our development journey. COB can now boast both Made in Australia and Backed by Australia”.
“This milestone is critically important for overseas partners and well timed in our development journey”
Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor added: “The Broken Hill Cobalt project’s pilot plant has already produced samples for shipping to battery precursor manufacturers across the country and the world – and now we’re helping to supercharge its potential.
This mine will not only help the surrounding regional communities in and around Broken Hill, it will also help power the growing battery industry and reduce emissions.”
Cobalt supply has long been considered an ESG sore point, with a majority of production coming via potential child-labour sources in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition, China accounts for around 70% of downstream cobalt sulphate output, causing concern for supply-chain security due to geopolitical difficulties.
Cobalt Blue has capitalised on an opportunity to integrate downstream processing capability at its Broken Hill operation, which has formed the genesis of today’s announcement.
The project’s integrated mine/refinery operation will aim to produce battery-ready cobalt sulphate using its own proprietary technology. Importantly, the technology allows for product specifications to be tailored to suit next-gen battery tech vital for the EV market.
The project is expected to generate 450 jobs during construction, with a further 410 jobs each year during production over 17 years.
The company says that the granting of ‘major project status’, which supports the federal government’s Critical Minerals Strategy, is expected to provide a number of positive outcomes for the project including expedited approval processes and easier access to capital markets.
Images: Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd