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First Cobalt Corp. says it has struck a partnership with commodities giant Glencore AG for the development of its cobalt refinery in Ontario.

The company says it has a memorandum of understanding that would see Glencore provide raw material to feed the refinery, as well as evaluate making a loan to the company.

First Cobalt says the refinery, which was commissioned in 1996 and placed on care and maintenance in 2015, would be the only primary cobalt refinery in North America if reopened.

It says the refinery, sitting about 600 kilometres north of Toronto in Lorrain Township, could produce up to 1,000 tonnes of cobalt per year.

Cobalt prices have fluctuated significantly in recent years over speculation of potential demand for their use in batteries for electric cars and elsewhere, though some companies have signalled they plan to shift away from the metal over supply issues.

Shares of First Cobalt closed up 2.5 cents, or 17.24 per cent, at 17 cents on the TSX Venture Exchange.