Cobalt Refinery Investment in Northern Ontario

Published on December 16, 2020

 Government of Canada and Province of Ontario invest $10 Million to establish North America’s first cobalt refinery in Northern Ontario 

FedNor and NOHFC investments to create more than 100 full-time jobs, improve Canada’s supply chain and reduce import dependency for electric vehicle battery production 

December 16, 2020 – Sudbury, ON – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario – FedNor 

The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are each investing $5 million in the First Cobalt Corporation to accelerate domestic production of battery-grade cobalt sulfate, a required element needed to produce long-range electric vehicles (EVs). 

The announcement was made today by Terry Sheehan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor and the Honourable Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. 

Provided through FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program and Ontario’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), this strategic investment will enable First Cobalt Corporation to recommission and expand its hydrometallurgical cobalt refinery in North Cobalt, located 500 kilometres North of Toronto. Once complete, the facility will be the first and only facility of its kind in North America, capable of producing 25,000 tonnes of battery-grade cobalt sulfate annually, which represents five percent of the global market for refined cobalt. 

Mining and related industries employ more than 625,000 people across the country and contribute as much as $97 billion a year to Canada’s GDP. With one of the largest concentrations of mining and related businesses in Canada, Northern Ontario’s mining industry is a key economic driver that fuels social and economic growth, while creating jobs and opportunities for families throughout the region. 

This investment also helps advance the Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan for Critical Minerals Collaboration, by strengthening the North American supply chain security for this critical battery mineral. 

Northern Ontario has been hard hit by COVID-19 and today’s announcement demonstrates how the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are working together to help families, communities and businesses to not just survive, but also thrive. It will help get Canadians back to work safely and ensure that Northern Ontario is well positioned to fully participate in Canada’s economic recovery.