Renewables/GOES MMI: First Cobalt inks refinery feedstock deals with Glencore, IXM SA

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose 2.7% this month, as Toronto-based First Cobalt signed multiple refinery feedstock agreements. (Editor’s note: This report also includes coverage of grain-oriented electrical steel, or GOES.)

January 2021 Renewables MMI chart

First Cobalt signs refinery feedstock agreements

Toronto-based First Cobalt announced Tuesday it has achieved a “key milestone” with new refinery feedstock agreements reached with Glencore AG and IXM SA.

The cobalt hydroxide deals will see First Cobalt receive a total of 4,500 tonnes per year beginning in 2022. The feedstock will come from Glencore’s KCC mine and China Molybdenum Co.’s — parent company of IXM SA — Tenke Fungurume mine.

The agreements represent 90% of projected capacity for the Canadian refinery. Furthermore, the deals will yield “22,250 tonnes per year of battery grade cobalt sulfate,” per the company’s announcement.

“This is a pivotal moment for our North American cobalt refining strategy,” First Cobalt President and CEO Trent Mell said. “Our globally competitive cost structure and industry-leading ESG credentials put us in a strong position for a rapidly growing EV market. With feedstock arrangements in place, we can continue to advance our vision to create a new cobalt supply chain in North America.

“Electric vehicle sales in Europe were up more than 100% in 2020 and the U.S. will be the next large market to take off.”

In other company news, First Cobalt signed a letter of intent with Kuya Silver Corporation to sell “a portion of its silver and cobalt mineral exploration assets in the Canadian Cobalt Camp and form a joint venture to advance the remaining mineral assets.”

“The transaction will allow the two companies to resume mineral exploration activities in a historic silver district while providing First Cobalt capital for the recommissioning of its Canadian refinery,” First Cobalt said in a release.

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Glencore releases climate report

Like many other companies and governments around the world, miner Glencore has set its own environmental targets.

In its Climate Report 2020 released Dec. 4, the company said it aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

“A significant portion of Glencore’s earnings is derived from the metals and minerals that enable the transition to a low-carbon economy,” CEO Ivan Glasenberg said. “As the world prioritises renewable technologies, battery storage and electric mobility, our business is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for the commodities that underpin these future focused industries. Our ambition to be a net zero total emissions company by 2050 reflects our commitment to contribute to the global effort to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Speaking of Glasenberg, Glencore announced he will retire from his role as CEO and member of the Glencore Board. Gary Nagle will succeed Glasenberg in the first half of 2021.


The GOES MMI, which tracks grain-oriented electrical steel, rose by 6.4% for this month’s index value.

January 2021 GOES MMI chart

Furthermore, the GOES price rose 6.4% this month to $2,305 per metric ton.

Actual metals price and trends

The Japanese steel plate price rose 1.2% month over month to $853.42 per metric ton as of Jan. 1. The Korean steel plate price, meanwhile, surged 16.7% to $630.54 per metric ton.

Meanwhile, the Chinese steel plate price jumped 14.1% to $780.02 per metric ton.

In addition, the U.S. steel plate price rose 14.9% to $812 per short ton.

The Chinese silicon price rose 1.9% to $1,594.09 per metric ton.

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