Mr. Trent Mell reports
FIRST COBALT STRENGTHENS LEADERSHIP TEAM
First Cobalt Corp. has appointed Regan Watts as vice-president, corporate affairs, and Dr. George Puvvada as its refinery technical manager.
Mr. Watts is a seasoned and entrepreneurial executive with more than 20 years of public and private sector experience in corporate communications, strategy, innovation, and regulatory and corporate affairs. His experience spans various industries including infrastructure, transportation, industrial manufacturing, information technology and financial services.
Mr. Watts has provided services to First Cobalt since 2019 and has been instrumental in helping communicate First Cobalt's priorities and plans to the government of Canada and the government of Ontario. In his executive capacity, Mr. Watts will add U.S. corporate and regulatory affairs to his responsibilities. First Cobalt has ambitious plans for its Iron Creek copper-cobalt project in Idaho, which align with President Biden's $2-trillion (U.S.) green energy plan.
Prior to working with First Cobalt, Mr. Watts was a member of IBM Canada's senior leadership group, heading the innovation, citizenship and government affairs team. Prior to IBM, he served on the executive committee of Lafarge Canada, where he led corporate communications, public and regulatory affairs, and corporate social responsibility. Mr. Watts had an extensive career in public service, serving in leadership roles in the government of Canada across four federal departments. From 2006 to 2012, he served at Finance Canada, Transport Canada, Health Canada, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. In 2012, Mr. Watts was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his public service to Canada. A published author, Mr. Watts holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University and is president of consultancy Fratton Park Inc.
Dr. Puvvada is a highly qualified metallurgist with over 25 years of industrial metallurgical experience. Over his career, Dr. Puvvada built a reputation developing flow sheets for difficult ores and delivered projects for some of the world's largest mining companies, including Vale, Xstrata and Barrick Gold.
As First Cobalt's technical manager, Dr. Puvvada will be a key member of the senior leadership team tasked with executing on First Cobalt's refinery expansion and commissioning strategy and qualifying the company's cobalt sulphate product for inclusion in Western automaker electric vehicle batteries.
Prior to joining First Cobalt, Dr. Puvvada was employed with Northern Sun Mining, overseeing all aspects of feed evaluation, metallurgical processing, lab supervision and project development. He previously spent several years as a metallurgist at the Peko mine in Australia, testing, developing and piloting for the recovery of base and precious metals. Dr. Puvvada has also worked with some of the world's leading metallurgical and engineering firms, including SNC Lavalin, Tetra Tech, Ortech and SGS. Dr. Puvvada holds a bachelor's degree in mineral processing from Andhra University in India and a PhD in extractive metallurgy from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
Trent Mell, president and chief executive officer, commented:
"As the company enters a growth phase with the expansion and recommissioning of our North American cobalt refinery, we mirror that with the growth and strength of our team. Last year's government investment was transformational and validated our strategic plan. In his new role, Mr. Watts will be setting his sights on opportunities with the new administration in the United States, while also continuing to lead First Cobalt's regulatory efforts in Canada.
"We are pleased to welcome Dr. Puvvada to the team. His experience with hydrometallurgical flow sheets will be instrumental to the successful execution of the North America's first and only producer of battery-grade cobalt.
"We will continue to build out our team as we power a better path forward and work towards a greener future."
About First Cobalt Corp.
First Cobalt owns North America's only permitted cobalt refinery. Cobalt refining is a critical component to the development and manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles and forms a foundational piece of the next generation of the North American auto sector and other electrified consumer and industrial applications. First Cobalt owns the Iron Creek cobalt project in Idaho, United States, and controls significant silver and cobalt assets in the Canadian cobalt camp, including more than 50 past-producing mines.
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