North America’s only permitted cobalt refinery, First Cobalt, has taken steps to strengthen its environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices by joining the Cobalt Institute as an associate member.
The Cobalt Institute is a forum for global cobalt market participants. A key part of its mandate is to promote the responsible and sustainable production and use of cobalt.
First Cobalt says it intends to qualify the First Cobalt refinery under the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), which is one of the most used resources for companies addressing responsible mineral sourcing issues in their supply chains. A central tenet of the RMI is application of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development due diligence guidance for responsible supply chains of minerals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas.
"Our strategic objective is to offer a premium supply of ethically-sourced cobalt by creating a closed supply chain. Over the next several years, Glencore intends to provide the feed for the First Cobalt refinery from a single mining operation, with no other feed sources entering the downstream supply chain. This will give buyers of our refined cobalt comfort that conflict minerals are not being introduced into their consumer products.
“Becoming a member of the Cobalt Institute demonstrates our commitment to implementing the most rigorous supply chain sourcing and ESG standards,” said First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell.
First Cobalt is also in the initial stages of quantifying and benchmarking the expected carbon footprint of the First Cobalt refinery.
To assist with this work, the company has obtained a grant of $50 000 from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistant Programme to model its greenhouse gas emissions and identify opportunities to reduce its carbon footprint throughout the refining process.