Cobalt Blue has announced a decrease in both capital and operating costs in its recent update for the Broken Hill Cobalt project, which uses a unique processing route. Other highlights include an increase in reserves and a longer mine life.
Cobalt Blue is looking at building an integrated mine/refinery operation producing cobalt and elemental sulphur. It has also already entered into various marketing and trading agreements with LG International, Sojitz Corporation and Mitsubishi.
Broken Hill is one of several primary cobalt projects covered by Roskill within its technical and financial evaluation work. Under the Roskill study, Broken Hill is shown to have high exposure to fluctuations in the cobalt market because of co-production of other metals by other producers. Under a long-term cobalt price of US$27.50lb, cobalt is expected to account for 84% of net revenue, with the balance coming from sulphur (long-term price US$123/t).
It should also be noted that Cobalt Blue’s recent update is based on pre-feasibility work, and includes inferred resources; therefore, more work will be needed to increase confidence levels in the project.
Cobalt Blue has developed and patented a unique flow sheet for the operation. Test results released by Cobalt Blue have been positive to date, although will need to be scaled up for commercial production. The assumed cobalt and sulphur recoveries are 85.5% and 64.4% respectively. The proposed flow sheet has a different approach in the use of pyrolysis to treat the pyrite concentrate, thus avoiding the production of SO2 and the associated costs of disposal.
A key determinant for the development of the project is the viability of the proposed processing route and Roskill will be keeping a close eye on upcoming pilot and demonstration plant results.
Roskill’s NEW Cobalt: Outlook to 2030, 16th Edition report is scheduled for publication in September 2020. Click here for more information.