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Regeneration and Cobalt Blue Announce Partnership to Address Mine Waste

Technology Innovation Unlocks Remining and Restoration, Addressing Mine Waste

WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES, March 26, 2024 / -- Regeneration and Cobalt Blue Holdings Limited (‘Cobalt Blue’) have agreed to a partnership to identify new value in legacy mine sites and waste. Projects will focus on sites that support Regeneration’s mission of extracting minerals for the energy transition and sustainable brands while restoring sites, with a focus on biodiversity and community value.

With this partnership, Regeneration will include Cobalt Blue’s proprietary minerals processing technology in its suite of technical solutions and services, applying the solution to legacy mine sites that are a match for the technology. Cobalt Blue will share site opportunities that fit Regeneration’s focus on restoration and full value remining, both those that use Cobalt Blue’s technology, and others. Together, the parties see opportunity to re-commercialize pyrite feed streams and other waste deposits in Australia and around the world, addressing a massive opportunity contained in waste from legacy and active mining. Specific roles, responsibilities and inter-relationships will be agreed upon by both parties on a site-by-site basis.

Regeneration is a public benefit company, registered in the United States (US) state of Delaware. Regeneration produces biodiversity, community, and f climate positive minerals for the energy transition, green technologies, and sustainable brands through remining, reprocessing, and restoration of old and existing mine sites. As a global social enterprise, Regeneration is establishing operations in several jurisdictions, including Australia. ‍Rio Tinto is a first, catalytic investor in Regeneration, as well as a site and technology partner.

Cobalt Blue is developing the Feasibility Study for the Broken Hill Cobalt Project (New South Wales, Australia). From there it has developed and proven the capability of its patented minerals processing technology for treating pyrite. This process has demonstrated the economic recovery of cobalt and elemental sulphur from pyrite deposits. Cobalt Blue has a ‘mine to battery markets’ strategy that includes the Broken Hill Cobalt Project as well as two other commercial platforms – the Cobalt in Waste Streams Projects (a global mine waste re-processing and restoration initiative), and a planned Cobalt-Nickel Refinery in Western Australia (to produce high-quality, responsibly sourced, battery-grade cobalt sulphate to enter critical mineral supply chains).

This MOU is being executed at a time of strategic importance: demand for metals and critical minerals is increasing as the world turns to EVs and battery storage to power the energy transition; and recognition that remining coupled with restoration can unlock value in waste while helping communities and restoring sites. The recently enacted US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and EU Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA) provide a policy backdrop that will incentivize responsibly sourced materials, and this is rapidly advancing an Allied Nations (US, EU, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia) critical materials supply chain.

Dr. Helen Degeling (Cobalt Blue’s Project Acquisition Manager), experienced in legacy mine sites and solutions around Australia and developing commercial contacts throughout the European Union (EU), will lead this work for Cobalt Blue.

Nicolau Barros, Senior Director, Engineering and Site Solutions, based in Perth, will play a lead role for Regeneration.

“There is power in partnership,” said Stephen D'Esposito (Regeneration’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer). “Our technology partners are essential. With them we bring value to communities, restore sites, and develop unique products for our downstream partners. This partnership will help bring this solution to legacy mines, creating a win-win.”

“We have been assessing site opportunities for reprocessing mine waste into commercially viable outcomes”, said Dr Degeling. “We see great potential in exploring shared projects where there is a compatibility between Cobalt Blue’s processing technology and Regeneration’s capacity for restoration and nature-based solutions.”

“Cobalt Blue sees an enormous opportunity contained in tailings, where traditional mining value chains have long viewed waste as a liability”, said Dr Degeling. “With the vast number of pending mine closures and un-rehabilitated sites in Australia, the scope is immense. The potential in Europe is even more significant, with active and inactive mine sites representing thousands of years of mining. Through this MOU, we can collaborate and transform these sites into a positive commercial and environmental legacy.”

“A key to success for Regeneration is innovation and technology curation, by building a portfolio of partnership technologies, like Cobalt Blue’s, we fill a market and social gap, and accelerate their application to mine waste”, said John Thompson (Regeneration’s Chief Innovation Officer). “Our strategy is to match the best technology to each site.”

Regarding the scale of opportunity contained in mine waste, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM: Roadmap for Tailings Reduction, 2022) estimates that nearly 10 billion tonnes of tailings were produced worldwide in 2018 alone across the 6 traditional commodities of alumina, gold, coal, iron ore, nickel, and copper.

Stephen D'Esposito
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