The company undertook the bench-scale test work as part of its recommissioning of the only permitted primary cobalt refinery in North America. The refinery has the potential to produce up to 2,000t/y of cobalt product with the use of the autoclave and solvent extraction circuits, which were in this case not used.
First Cobalt said the testwork was carried out in single batches, which gave it the opportunity to optimise product specifications to meet offtake partner requirements.
The product assayed 20.8% cobalt, higher than the reference grade for sulphate pricing. It was classified as high purity, achieving over 99.9% purity, the company said.
The company has hired Ausenco to work in partnership with SGS Canada on detailed engineering to assess further refinement to the flowsheet and circuit optimisations to increase potential output.
CEO Trent Mell said near-term cash flow was within sight.
"For our shareholders, this development brings us closer to cash flow and will be our top priority in the year ahead. Third-party studies have confirmed that the permitted facility could be recommissioned in 18-24 months."
First Cobalt shares (TSXV:FCC) closed 39% or C6c higher in Toronto on Wednesday at 21.5c, capitalising it at $74.94 million. The company is trading 78% lower compared with a year ago.