TMC and SGS Produce World-First Cobalt Sulfate from Deep-Seafloor Polymetallic Nodules

  • As part of TMC’s pilot-scale nodule processing, SGS and TMC produced the world’s first cobalt sulfate from deep-seafloor polymetallic nodules, continuing to indicate TMC’s resource is suitable for battery and energy transition markets
  • The cobalt sulfate was produced in a testing program conducted in collaboration with SGS applying TMC’s efficient flowsheet design that processes high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt matte directly to high-purity cobalt sulfate (without making cobalt metal) and produces fertilizer products instead of solid waste or tailings
  • Key milestone advances TMC’s aim to decrease reliance on land-based cobalt deposits and supply chains, and follows last month’s successful production of the world’s first nickel sulfate derived exclusively from seafloor polymetallic nodules

NEW YORK, June 12, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TMC the metals company Inc. (Nasdaq: TMC) (“TMC” or the “Company”), an explorer of the world’s largest estimated undeveloped source of critical battery metals, today announced that it has successfully produced the world’s first cobalt sulfate derived exclusively from seafloor polymetallic nodules. The cobalt sulfate was generated during bench-scale testing of TMC’s hydrometallurgical flowsheet design with SGS Canada Inc. (“SGS”). The test work was carried out at SGS’ Metallurgical Centre of Excellence testing facility in Lakefield, Ontario.

Based on samples of nickel-cobalt-copper matte first produced by TMC in 2021, the Extractive Metallurgy team at SGS tested TMC’s efficient flowsheet to process high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt matte directly to high-purity cobalt sulfate without making cobalt metal, while producing fertilizer byproducts instead of solid waste or tailings. This milestone follows last month’s successful production of nickel sulfate, a key raw material input used in the production of energy-dense electric vehicle batteries.

“This achievement further demonstrates the potential for seafloor polymetallic nodules as a valuable resource,” said Dr. Jeffrey Donald, TMC Head of Onshore Development. “Following the success of our first nickel sulfate production in April, production of the world’s first cobalt sulfate from deep-seafloor nodules is another important milestone for TMC and for creating a responsible supply of metals required for human flourishing. SGS continues to execute at a high level and this milestone demonstrates the viability of our process and our dedication to near-zero solid waste nodule processing.”

Carlos Cordoba, Vice President of Natural Resources at SGS North America, commented: “SGS is pleased to support TMC in achieving another milestone towards commercialization of polymetallic nodules suitable for the battery chemicals market. Our technical expertise in extractive metallurgy is driving innovation in the mining industry and we look forward to continuing to set the benchmark as a trusted service provider at every stage of the mining project lifecycle.”  

TMC and SGS’ success in deriving cobalt sulfate from seafloor polymetallic nodules is a key milestone in advancing TMC’s mission to supply metals for the global energy transition with the least possible negative impacts on planet and people.

In April, TMC and SGS produced the world’s first nickel sulfate derived exclusively from seafloor polymetallic nodules. TMC’s NORI and TOML projects are ranked as the world’s #1 and #2 largest undeveloped nickel projects according to Mining.com, containing in situ quantities of nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese sufficient to meet the needs of 280 million electric vehicles – roughly the size of the entire U.S. light vehicle fleet. With analysts warning that the quantities of critical battery metals like nickel and cobalt available from domestic or allied partners will be insufficient to meet U.S. demand from the energy transition, there is increased interest in and prioritization of marine minerals to support energy and national security.

In May, Congress allocated $2 million to the Defense Department’s Industrial Base Policy Office to study the feasibility of domestic nodule refining capacity. In March, members of the House of Representatives introduced draft legislation calling for the U.S. to “provide financial, diplomatic, or other forms of support for seafloor nodule collection, processing and refining.” In November 2023, TMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Pacific Metals Corporation (PAMCO) to complete a feasibility study to process 1.3 million tonnes of wet polymetallic nodules (PMN) per year into high-grade nickel-copper-cobalt alloy / matte and manganese silicate, which are feedstock for the production of lithium-ion batteries, electrical infrastructure and steel.

About The Metals Company
The Metals Company is an explorer of lower-impact battery metals from seafloor polymetallic nodules, on a dual mission: (1) supply metals for the global energy transition with the least possible negative impacts on planet and people and (2) trace, recover and recycle the metals we supply to help create a metals commons that can be used in perpetuity. The Company through its subsidiaries holds exploration and commercial rights to three polymetallic nodule contract areas in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean regulated by the International Seabed Authority and sponsored by the governments of Nauru, Kiribati and the Kingdom of Tonga. More information is available at www.metals.co.

About SGS
As the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 99,600 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world. Visit: www.sgs.ca.

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Investors | investors@metals.co

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements made in this press release are not historical facts but are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release include, without limitation, statements that waste streams could be reduced by using deep-sea nodules. These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Most of these factors are outside TMC’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to: any future results of processing of the polymetallic nodules, including but not limited to the successful production of nickel and/or cobalt sulfate or the ability to commercially produce such products; regulatory uncertainties and the impact of government regulation and political instability on TMC’s resource activities; changes to any of the laws, rules, regulations or policies to which TMC is subject; the impact of extensive and costly environmental requirements on TMC’s operations; environmental liabilities; the impact of polymetallic nodule collection on biodiversity in the CCZ and recovery rates of impacted ecosystems; TMC’s ability to develop minerals in sufficient grade or quantities to justify commercial operations; the lack of development of seafloor polymetallic nodule deposit; uncertainty in the estimates for mineral resource calculations from certain contract areas and for the grade and quality of polymetallic nodule deposits; risks associated with natural hazards; uncertainty with respect to the specialized treatment and processing of polymetallic nodules that TMC may recover; risks associated with collection, development and processing operations; fluctuations in transportation costs; testing and manufacturing of equipment; risks associated with TMC’s intellectual property; and other risks and uncertainties, including those in the “Risk Factors” sections, included in the final prospectus and definitive proxy statement, dated and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on August 12, 2021 relating to the business combination, in TMC’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2023, filed by TMC with the SEC on March 25, 2024, and in TMC’s other future filings with the SEC, including TMC’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. TMC cautions readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. TMC does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based except as required by law.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/2bfad1af-6135-412c-95e0-57ce2c6472c3


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