Cobalt Blue’s processing technology provides sustainable solutions for recycling mine waste.

In traditional mining value chains, mine waste such as tailings is considered a liability. Employing circular economy principles redefines the liability into a valuable asset which can be recycled, repurposed or reprocessed.

Our processing know-how allows for value creation from waste with the opportunity to produce metals including cobalt, and elemental sulphur, whilst simultaneously de-sulfidising the remaining material for more positive environmental outcomes.

We are at the forefront of mineral processing innovation, with a vision to apply that innovation to non-traditional opportunities. Our goal is ethically sourced battery metals for a sustainable world. Our approach is to find value in waste, hand-in-hand with nature positive outcomes.

Cobalt in Waste Streams Projects news

Introducing Dr Helen Degeling and the Cobalt in Waste Streams Project

In this extract from a recent webinar, our Project Acquisition Manager, Dr Helen Degeling, discusses cobalt in waste streams and why it is a key pillar in the Cobalt Blue strategy.

Flin Flon Tailings Testwork Agreement with Hudbay Minerals Inc.

Cobalt Blue Holdings Limited (“COB”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a testwork co-operation agreement with Hudbay Minerals Inc. with respect to Hudbay’s wholly-owned Flin Flon tailings storage facility located in the Province of Manitoba, Canada.

COB executes Memorandum of Understanding (‘MOU’) with State of Queensland

COB has executed a MOU with the State of Queensland, acting through the Department of Resources, to assess opportunities for the recovery of cobalt (and any coexisting base and precious metals) from mine waste.

Cobalt in Waste Streams Project

Cobalt Blue Holdings Limited (ASX:COB) is delighted to announce its Cobalt in Waste Streams Project, a rollout of its existing technology and test facilities to examine cobalt recovery from waste streams.

Scale of the mine waste opportunity

Around 10 billion tonnes of tailings material is produced annually around the world. The majority of this material is from metalliferous sulphide mines, particularly copper mines.

Cobalt and other critical minerals commonly occur in association with these primary metals, but are not always extracted.

Instead, decades of traditional mining has resulted in significant accumulations of cobalt and other metals at surface, already crushed, in tailings dams and waste stockpiles all over the globe.

Mine waste and the circular economy

In a circular economy, components are retained at their highest value for as long as possible. In a mining scenario, the composition of tailings and other stockpiles can be examined with the lens that everything has value and use.

Following a traditional linear pattern, deposits are found, mines are commissioned and operated while ore is concentrated, refined and used in the manufacture of a ‘product’. Most circular economy models examine the use, re-use, repair and recycling of that ‘product’. However, the mining and processing stage offers opportunity for re-examination and re-processing of mine waste to enhance efficiency through applied circularity concepts prior to refining and manufacturing.

Our patented process and mine waste

Pyrite is a common waste product from metalliferous mines, where it is concentrated in the tailings. This is especially true for copper and nickel deposits, with which cobalt is commonly associated. Many mining operations have traditionally focused on one or two primary commodities, ignoring the co-occurring metals that may have had low economic value until recently. Driven by the modern energy transition, those co-occurring metals are more valuable and can be found accumulated in mine waste.

Our patented technology is designed for re-processing pyrite and other sulphides to extract the contained metals, such as cobalt. Given the volumes of pyrite-rich waste generated annually from copper and nickel mines, a significant opportunity exists to re-process that waste for sustainably produced critical minerals.

Positive environmental outcomes

Mine waste, and tailings dams in particular, are an environmental legacy that must be rehabilitated and managed for decades to centuries following mine closure. Metalliferous mine waste is often associated with acid mine drainage, formed from oxidation of sulphur bearing minerals such as pyrite when they are exposed at the earth’s surface. Acid mine drainage can cause significant environmental harm to waterways, landscapes and ecosystems.

Our patented process breaks down pyrite and other sulphides to produce metals such as cobalt, copper and nickel, as well as elemental sulphur and iron oxide. The generation of elemental sulphur means that the remaining material has a significantly lower potential to form sulphuric acid, thus reducing the likelihood of environmental harm through acid mine drainage.


Queensland Department of Resources and Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland

In December 2021, we executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Queensland Department of Resources, to participate in the collaborative “Secondary Prospectivity” project funded by the Geological Survey of Queensland (GSQ), and run by the Mine Waste Transformation through Characterisation (MIWATCH) group at the Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland.

The Secondary Prospectivity project aims to fill in a significant data gap, by sampling and characterising mine waste throughout Queensland, thereby highlighting opportunities for critical mineral extraction that may have previously been ignored or unknown. Our involvement offers an alternative to conventional processing of cobalt from pyrite, and demonstrates the applicability of our process across a range of deposits and waste compositions in Queensland.

Hudbay Minerals Inc.

In June 2023, we signed a testwork agreement with Hudbay Minerals Inc (Hudbay) in Canada, to assess the effectiveness of our patented processing technology on the 100 year old tailings dam at Flin Flon, Manitoba.

The tailings facility contains gold, silver, copper, zinc, sulphur and minor cobalt within a pyrite/pyrrhotite concentrate.

The testwork program is expected to take up to 4 months from receipt of samples from Hudbay.


COB World Mining Congress, Geoscience & Discovery Stream - H Degeling June 2023

COB Geological Survey of Queensland, Technical Workshop for Industry - H Degeling 2023

COB Australian Critical Minerals Conference - H Degeling May 2023

COB NorthWest MPX Conference Presentation - H Degeling May 2023

Project contact

Dr Helen Degeling
Project Acquisition Manager

Helen is a geologist with over 18 years’ experience in industry, academia and government. She was instrumental in initiating the Queensland Government’s Circular Economy, Secondary Prospectivity, Traceability and Sustainable Rare Earth Elements (REE) Processing programs.

She is a passionate advocate for the growth and evolution of the minerals sector in line with the demands of a just transition towards decarbonisation and adoption of Environmental, Social and Governance standards globally.

Helen aims to realise the opportunities for green metal extraction from mine waste to support the energy transition through Cobalt Blue’s innovative processing technology and high ethical and operating standards.

Contact Dr Helen Degeling