While cobalt is typically recovered as a by-product of copper or nickel, the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) will be a primary producer of cobalt as there are only minor amounts of base metals in the ore.

The operation is anticipated to be large-scale but relatively low-cost as the process separates over 80% of the waste from the ore at the first step. This means we intend to process less than 20% of the material brought out of the ground.

The operation aims to be one of the largest cobalt producers in the world. In fact, if Broken Hill were a country, if we hit our production target, it would rank number 5 for cobalt production.

The BHCP is located approximately 25 kilometres southwest of Broken Hill, in far western New South Wales and hosts three large tonnage cobaltiferous pyrite deposits. Mineral processing separates pyrite from the ore, while downstream treatment of the pyrite concentrate recovers the cobalt.

Location

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project is located approx. 25 km southwest of Broken Hill, in far western New South Wales. The Project covers an area of roughly 37km² within a broader tenement holding of almost 220km².

Geological Setting

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project is located in a deformed and metamorphosed Proterozoic supracrustal rock succession named the ‘Willyama Supergroup’, which was deposited between ~1720 and ~1640 million years ago. It hosts most metalliferous occurrences, including the giant Broken Hill Pb-Zn-Ag (lead, zinc, silver) orebody.

Deposits

The deposits are characterised by moderate to steep dipping stratabound zones of disseminated to semi-massive cobaltiferous pyrite mineralisation. This forms 3 distinct bodies known as Pyrite Hill, Big Hill, and Railway.

The deposits extend over some 5 km of strike and vary in thickness from 10 to 300m. The cobalt occurs exclusively as a substitute within the pyrite crystal lattice, and consequently, there is a strong correlation between pyrite content and cobalt grade.

A unique mineralogical composition distinguishes the Broken Hill Cobalt Project deposits from the Nickel - Cobalt laterite, Nickel - Copper (Cobalt - PGE), and Copper - Cobalt sulphide deposits, which account for some 98% of global cobalt production.

Resources, Reserves and Production Target

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project hosts a global Mineral Resource estimate comprising 126.5 Mt at 867 ppm CoEq (690 ppm cobalt, 7.5% sulphur and 134 ppm nickel) for 87 kt contained cobalt, 9,510 kt sulphur and 17 kt nickel (at a 275ppm CoEq cut-off).¹

The Probable Ore Reserve of estimate for the deposits comprises 71.8 Mt at 710 ppm cobalt and 7.6% sulphur. The Ore Reserve estimate was based on, and inclusive of, the Mineral Resource estimate released 4 April 2019 now superseded by the Mineral Resource estimate released 16 September 2021.²

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project mine schedule also considers a production target comprising 98 Mt at 690 ppm cobalt and 7.4% sulphur for 67 kt of contained cobalt. The production target is inclusive of a small component (approximately 20%) of Inferred Mineral Resources captured by the final pit designs.³

¹ These estimates of mineral resources were reported in the announcement titled ‘BHCP Resource Update’ dated 16 September 2016. Cobalt Blue it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the relevant announcement, and that all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning the estimates in the relevant announcement continue to apply and have not materially changed.

² These estimates of ore reserves were reported in the announcement titled ‘’Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) Project Update 2020’ dated 16 July 2020. Cobalt Blue it is not aware of any new information or data that materially affects the information included in the relevant announcement, and that all material assumptions and technical parameters underpinning the estimates in the relevant announcement continue to apply and have not materially changed.

³ The production target and financial information/estimates derived from it in this announcement were reported in the announcement titled ‘’Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) Project Update 2020’ dated 16 July 2020. All the material assumptions underpinning the production target, in the initial public report continue to apply and have not materially changed. There is a low level of geological confidence associated with inferred mineral resources and there is no certainty that further exploration work will result in the determination of indicated mineral resources or that the production target itself will be realised.

Mining and Processing

Cobalt Blue’s strategic focus is on the battery industry and producing a battery-ready cobalt product at sufficient purity to enter the production chain directly.

Historically, cobalt has been produced as a concentrate by-product (from either copper or nickel mines), or as a mixed hydroxide or sulphide intermediate. In both cases, the payable cobalt content is a fraction of the metal value.

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project is an integrated mine-refinery concept. The commercial strategy is to extract the maximum cobalt margin in a rapidly changing global market for cobalt. As demand for particular forms of cobalt wax and wane, so too will our production outcomes, which can produce a mixed hydroxide product (MHP) or cobalt sulphate (CoSO4).

Integrated mine and refinery

Mine

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project considers a multi-open pit mining scenario that will extract ore using conventional drill and blast, load and haul, and dump processes. The operation is planned to use excavators and rigid body trucks along with a fleet of auxiliary equipment.

Up to 6.3 million tonnes of ore are expected to be hauled annually to a stockpile area proximal to the processing plant located centrally to the pits. Waste material will be hauled to the waste emplacements situated close to each pit.

Refinery

The flowsheet has been successfully tested at Cobalt Blue’s pilot and demonstration plants at Broken Hill. The steps in the processing technology are individually commercially proven although not previously combined elsewhere. The process has been patented in Australia, Japan, Korea, China and Africa.

Ore is crushed to approx. 1 mm, and a pyrite concentrate is recovered using a combination of gravity and flotation unit operations.

The pyrrhotite is forwarded to a low-temperature, low-pressure autoclave for leaching. The leach residue is removed by filtration and further processed for sulphur recovery by remelting. The leach solutions are advanced through various minor metals removal steps (precipitation, ion exchange, and solvent extraction) to remove iron, copper, zinc, manganese. The cobalt and nickel are precipitated as a mixed-hydroxide (MHP) intermediate.

The MHP is then refined for production of high purity cobalt sulphate heptahydrate. The target recovery from ore to product for cobalt is 85–90%.

The pyrite concentrate is thermally treated under an inert atmosphere to produce artificial pyrrhotite (calcine) and elemental sulphur. The sulphur is condensed from the kiln off-gas and turned into solid prills.

Demonstration Plant

To support the development of a bespoke metallurgical process for treating the cobalt-pyrite mineral to produce MHP and cobalt sulphate, and in conjunction with the DFS, COB constructed and operated a Pilot Plant and Demonstration Plant in Broken Hill.

In 2021, a Pilot Plant produced cobalt products with various specifications. These were used as samples for commercial assess­ment and as a catalyst to begin commercial dialogue. The Pilot Plant was used to scale-up testwork from ‘static’ bench scale to ‘continuously operating’ circuits. The results validated metal recoveries previously used in the 2018 PFS and 2020 Project Update.

A larger scale Demonstration Plant was then designed, incorporating changes to the flowsheet, optimised process parameters/ conditions, and equipment selections.

The Demonstration Plant activities comprised two phases of operation. Firstly, mined ore was crushed, milled and treated to produce a cobalt-pyrite concentrate at the Pyrite Hill site. Secondly, the concentrate was processed in the Demonstration Plant in Broken Hill for extraction and recovery of cobalt as MHP, and subsequent refining into cobalt sulphate.

Infrastructure

Electricity

Broken Hill is located at the edge of the National Electricity Market high voltage grid, which typically means high cost. However, the completion of the (AGL) Broken Hill Solar Farm has created a peak excess of power to the town and local environments. The solar farm is located just 5 km west of Broken Hill (along the same highway as the Broken Hill Cobalt Project future mining operations). In addition, the Silverton Wind Farm (25km NW of Broken Hill) further amplifies this excess.

Air, Road and Rail

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project is connected to Broken Hill, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne via major highways.

An airport in Broken Hill services daily scheduled flights to Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne (via Mildura).

The Broken Hill to Port Pirie train line commenced construction in 1875. The rail gauge has been standardised and upgraded, is 407km long, and runs directly past the Thackaringa mine site.

Broken Hill Water

The NSW Government has built a new 270km pipeline from the Murray River to secure a long-term water supply for Broken Hill and surrounding communities. The pipeline solution supplies homes and businesses with a reliable and high-quality water source.

Essential Water is the water utility in Broken Hill. They have a significant business driver to supply water for economic development within the region. Essential Water have confirmed that they can supply the water requirements of the Broken Hill Cobalt Project using a pipeline between Broken Hill and the site.

Environment

Cobalt Blue is designing the Broken Hill Cobalt Project to minimise its impact on the environment. We aspire to operate a mine and refinery operations according to best environmental practices.

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project is seeking State Significant Development approval from the NSW Government and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is currently being prepared. The NSW Government will regulate the site via a series of permits or licenses, such as:

  • Environment Protection License (Environment Protection Authority)
  • Mining Lease (Regional NSW)
  • Water Access Licenses (Natural Resources Access Regulator)

Integrated Waste Landforms (IWLs)

Cobalt Blue has adopted an IWL approach to manage our bulk waste streams. IWLs minimise acid generation through careful engineering and management of the waste rock. The IWLs are also progressively rehabilitated to produce a long-term stable structure that mimics the surrounding landscape.

In the past, mining companies have typically managed waste streams in separate facilities, which have sometimes left legacy issues for future generations.

Aboriginal heritage

Registered Aboriginal Parties and professional archaeologists have commenced Aboriginal heritage investigations at the Broken Hill Cobalt Project site.

Several Aboriginal artifacts are present on the site, with the majority being closely associated with the creeks that traverse the landscape. Some of the Aboriginal artifacts will be impacted by the proposal, and Cobalt Blue looks forward to developing a Cultural Heritage Management Plan with representatives of the local Aboriginal people to manage these cultural resources appropriately. Further Aboriginal heritage survey and assessment will be undertaken during the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement.

Broken Hill Cobalt Project News

Market Update: Broken Hill Cobalt Project Mineral Resource Estimate

COB has updated the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) Mineral Resource estimate following the completion of the 2022-23 drilling program. Measured Resources have increased by 32% when compared with the former estimate (2021).

WEBINAR Recording: Strategic Update, including the announcement to progress the Cobalt Nickel Refinery Project in 2024

In this webinar, Joe Kaderavek (CEO), Dr Andrew Tong (Executive Manager) and Joel Crane (Investor Relations/Commercial Manager) provide an update on: progress of the Definitive Feasibility Study for the Broken Hill Cobalt Project, details of the recently released Study on our proposed Cobalt Nickel Refinery in Western Australia, and positive results of testwork on samples from the Flin Flon (Canada) tailings facility.

Cobalt Blue’s Mine to Battery Markets Strategy featured at the International Mining and Resources Congress (IMARC), Sydney

Cobalt Blue participated in this year’s International Mining and Resources Congress (IMARC) in Sydney (October 2023), which saw 8,500+ attendees from 100+ countries collaborating on trends in mining, investment, and innovation towards a sustainable future.

COB - Finalised Mining Lease Application Lodged

Mining Lease Application 634 (‘MLA634’) has been submitted and complements our earlier application (‘MLA614’). Collectively with existing Mining Leases, MLA614 and MLA634 cover the area required for development of the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (‘BHCP’).

Cobalt Blue Publishes 3rd Annual Sustainability Report

In January 2019, the Cobalt Institute launched the Cobalt Industry Responsible Assessment Framework (CIRAF) and this is Cobalt Blue’s third annual report against the framework – Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd. Sustainability Self Assessment and Roadmap (2023/24)

Broken Hill Cobalt Project: AFL Broken Hill Club and Club Person of the Year 2023

The Broken Hill Cobalt Project continued its sponsorship of the Australian Football League (AFL) Broken Hill this year, with an awards system developed to benefit all 4 local clubs.

Bulk Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP) Produced

Successful operations continue at the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) Demonstration Plant that provide data and supporting studies for the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS). In recent weeks, our operators have produced over 100kg of Mixed Hydroxide Precipitate (MHP). These samples will be used in engineering studies needed to evaluate and specify equipment for the BHCP processing facility and for international evaluation as part of our partner program.

Cobalt Blue visits Japan – furthering Kwinana Cobalt Refinery and Broken Hill Cobalt Project Cooperation (Aug. - Sept. 2023)

Closing on the delivery of feasibility studies for the Kwinana Cobalt Refinery and Broken Hill Cobalt Project, Cobalt Blue is finalising funding assistance and offtake partnerships. Discussions held included strategic commercial alignments aimed at supplying critical minerals to fast-growing US and EU Electric Vehicle (EV) markets.

ABC Radio Interview: Cobalt Blue Holdings Investment Relations/Commercial Manager discusses the ‘big picture’ for cobalt demand globally and the local perspective of the Broken Hill Cobalt Project.

In this interview with Andrew Schmidt on ABC Radio in Broken Hill, Joel Crane provides information on the global outlook for cobalt and the influence of international legislation. The strategy being deployed by Cobalt Blue is also discussed, covering the Broken Hill Cobalt Project and more recently announced Kwinana Cobalt Refinery in Western Australia.

WEBINAR recording: Strategy, Demonstration Plant and Refinery Development Program

In this webinar, Joe Kaderavek (CEO), Dr Andrew Tong (Executive Manager) and Joel Crane (Investor Relations/Commercial Manager) provide an update on the WA Refinery Strategy, Definitive Feasibility Study, and the recently launched Refinery Development Program – as well as answer questions submitted by shareholders.

Cobalt Blue: Mine to Battery Markets Strategy

The mine to battery market projects being developed by Cobalt Blue Holdings Limited include the Broken Hill Cobalt Project in New South Wales (mine) and the Kwinana Cobalt Refinery Project in Western Australia.

2022 – 2023 Drilling Program

In February 2023, Cobalt Blue Holdings Limited (COB) completed a comprehensive drilling program to support various aspects of the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS).

Co-operative Research Centre – Project (CRC-P) Grant

With thanks to a $2.4m Australian Government grant awarded as part of the CRC-P, 3 post-graduate researchers assisted the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) with the processing of pyrite ore to produce battery grade cobalt and sulphur.

On-site with our Demonstration Plant Manager and the Kiln Circuit

In this video, Adam Randall (Demonstration Plant Manager) takes us through the Calcine Phase of our process at the Demonstration Plant in Broken Hill.

WEBINAR recording: Cobalt Blue WA Refinery Strategy and Definitive Feasibility Study Update

In this webinar, Joe Kaderavek (CEO), Dr Andrew Tong (Executive Manager) and Joel Crane (Investor Relations/Commercial Manager) provide an update on the WA Refinery Strategy, Definitive Feasibility Study, and answer questions submitted by shareholders.

Definitive Feasibility Study Update

COB is managing the delivery of the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS). This update provides insights on a range DFS activities including the Demonstration Plant, Kwinana Refinery Project and Australian Government Support.

COB - CEO's Letter to Shareholders

Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX:COB) is pleased to announce the release of the CEO’s Letter to Shareholders. The letter provides an overview of COB’s strategy amid the global critical minerals backdrop. COB recently issued guidance on the progress of our Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP), proposed Cobalt Refinery and Cobalt in Waste Streams projects. This letter details how all the pieces fit together.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Update

Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP) is currently preparing the EIS, which will assess the environmental, social and economic implications of the Project. The EIS will be submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment in Q4 2023 for determination of State Significant Development Approval.

WEBINAR recording: Definitive Feasibility Study update - 29 March 2023

In this webinar, Joe Kaderavek (CEO), Joel Crane (Investor Relations/Commercial Manager) and Andrew Tong (Executive Manager) provide an update on the Definitive Feasibility Study at the Broken Hill Cobalt Project, and answer questions submitted by shareholders.

COB - Webinar Presentation - Wednesday 29 March 2023

Groundwater Monitoring at the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP)

A drilling campaign initiated in January 2022 has continued previous groundwater monitoring to inform the groundwater impact assessment for mining and waste management aspects of the BHCP.

VIDEO: Broken Hill Cobalt Project Demonstration Plant (Mine Site) - November 2022

As part of our regular business and operation updates, we are very excited to provide this short video detailing the progress being made at the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP).

BHCP Demonstration Plant – Ore Processing Update

As reported on the 6th October, the Concentrator Circuit completed the initial 500 t of ore in September. Over the next four weeks a further 1,500 t of ore has been processed, bringing the total tonnage to 2,000 t.

BHCP Demonstration Plant Update

As part of our regular business and operation updates, we are very excited to provide this short video detailing the recent progress of the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (BHCP).