Oxair and Cobalt Blue Combine for Future of Energy Storage

January 26,2024

Oxair and Cobalt Blue Combine for Future of Energy Storage

Oxair, a global specialist in gas systems, has recently partnered with Cobalt Blue. Oxair will supply its on-site oxygen and nitrogen generators to the world’s only ethical cobalt mining operation, at Broken Hill in New South Wales, Australia. The proven standalone technology, that supplies a constant supply of pure oxygen and nitrogen, is anticipated to be at the forefront of Australia’s cobalt mining revolution.

As the world adapts to renewable energy the demand for energy storage soars. With EVs, wind and other renewable power projects generating more and more electricity, the world will come to rely on batteries. Cobalt is a crucial part of that energy storage solution.

cobalt blue partnership mining site

Cobalt Blue Partnership

Cobalt Blue, an ethical cobalt development and technology company, knows sustainable energy will lead to a decarbonised future, and the switch is creating massive demand for batteries and for cobalt. The mineral is critical to battery chemistry and is the reason why the Broken Hill Cobalt Project is projected to be scaled up to become a top 10 cobalt mine equivalent with the aim of producing enough cobalt to power 5 million EVs.

Creating an Inert Environment

The nitrogen generator is used in the project’s kiln. Pyrite concentrate is thermally decomposed in the kiln, during which sulphur is released in a gaseous state, as a by-product of the process. An inert environment is vital for this process and, to achieve this, nitrogen is required at 99.5% purity. This can be a dangerous process as oxygen ingress can lead to the formation of sulphur dioxide, a toxic gas.

cobalt blue deposits

Oxygen is essential for the chemical reaction to leach cobalt from the pyrrhotite into solution. The Oxair oxygen generator is used to supply oxygen at pressure to the oxidation leach circuit.

Adam Randall, Broken Hill Cobalt Project, Demonstration Plant Manager, explained: “Investing in world class equipment is vital to achieving both safety and sustainability goals – something which is not lost on Cobalt Blue. Broken Hill Cobalt Project builds on 130 years of mining history and Oxair’s technology will help us to achieve commercial scale mining and processing operations in the near future. Together we are helping to create a renewable energy future and a community for our miners and their families here, and we’d thoroughly recommend Oxair’s systems for other mining operations.”

Oxair’s David Cheeseman added: “Battery power is undoubtedly the future across many industry sectors, but this can’t be achieved without vital components like cobalt. Cobalt Blue is a unique endeavour and we are honoured that our systems are contributing to its current productivity – and to its ambitious targets to become one of the leading cobalt mines in the world. We very much look forward to helping Cobalt Blue shape the future of battery technology.”

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