The first cobalt, nickel refinery in U.S. planned for Oklahoma
The metals refinery startup, Westwin Elements, is building the nation’s first cobalt and nickel refinery in Lawton. The Bartlesville-based company is set to start building no later than October.
Gov. Kevin Stitt, and principal investor of Westwin Elements Dennis Muelinburg, broke ground on the refinery on Tuesday, calling it a matter of national security.
This comes at a time when, according to the International Energy Agency, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and China are responsible for 70% and 60% of global production of nickel and cobalt
Currently, the Biden Administration is fast-tracking domestic mines and refineries as it pushes for a shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. According to NPR, last October, the first cobalt mine in the U.S. broke ground in Idaho.
Cobalt is necessary for the production of electric vehicle batteries. Nickel, on the other hand, is used for jet engines and other military equipment. Both are used to make cell phones, computers, and other electronics.
Officials with Westwin Elements say the facility is set to begin operations sometime in 2024. It will bring around 85 jobs to Oklahoma.