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Temiskaming cobalt refiner finds a homegrown source of future supply

Electra Battery Materials inks framework agreement with Fuse Cobalt
Electra Battery Material analytical lab
Analytical lab at Electra Battery Material's Temiskaming refinery (Company photo)

Electra Battery Materials, a Temiskaming-area cobalt refinery developer, has found a local source of future supply to feed its operation.

The Toronto company has signed a tentative agreement with Fuse Cobalt, a junior exploration company with cobalt properties not very far from the refinery located between the town of Cobalt and Temiskaming Shores.

The two companies inked a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) for Fuse to supply Electra’s refinery with two kilotonnes (2000 tonnes) a year in locally-mined raw cobalt material. 

But it’ll be a ways off before it comes to fruition.

In this framework agreement, Fuse said it’s aiming for January 2028 commercial production start.

Fuse is a B.C.-based exploration company that’s on the green energy train with a particular focus on cobalt. The company has two cobalt properties, dubbed Teledyne and Glencore Bucke, only a few kilometres east and southeast of Electra’s refinery.

Fuse was busy drilling the properties in 2017 and 2018 but hasn’t released any information either last year or this year on its plans the field. If anything, they’ve been busy stocking its board of directors during July and August. The company has reported in the past that zinc, silver and copper is also present on its properties.

The two companies are calling the potential transaction a 'Made-in-North America’ solution to supply the electric car and lithium-ion battery makers with a domestic supply.

"This MOU is the first step towards a potential definitive agreement to supply cobalt raw material for Electra's nearby cobalt refinery and sets out the terms by which we will exchange information with Electra to advance a potential transaction to involving the supply of cobalt raw materials,” said company CEO Robert Setter in a news release.

“The end result of this collaboration will be the execution of a definitive agreement to provide cobalt feed stock to the Electra Cobalt Refinery which is roughly a stone's throw away from our two cobalt exploration properties in Ontario."

Electra got out of the cobalt exploration business in the Temiskaming area when it acquired the shuttered Yukon refinery in 2017 and decided to become a processor of so-called critical battery metals needed to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles.  

With construction underway to expand the refinery, Electra is poised to go into cobalt processing using African-sourced raw material at the end of this year. Electra has big plans to create a battery metals industrial park over the next four years.

In a statement, Electra CEO Trent Mell said they’re looking forward to working with Fuse. 

"Having a domestic source of cobalt raw material produced ethically and with low-carbon emissions will help us to better address the demand for onshore EV battery materials.”