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Idaho Cobalt Operations, US – update

Aerial view of the Idaho Cobalt Operations

Photo by Jervois Global

23rd June 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO).

Idaho, in the US.

Project Owner/s
Jervois Global.

Project Description
The project was partially constructed when Jervois acquired it in July 2019, with more than $120-million invested by the previous owners since the discovery of the cobalt deposit.

An updated bankable feasibility study (BFS) has confirmed the potential of ICO to establish a near-term, low-cost cobalt/copper/cobalt mine, with significant opportunity to increase the mineral resource and extend mine reserves once mining starts.

The BFS is based on extracting 2.5-million metric tons of ore at an average grade of 0.55% cobalt, 0.80% copper and 0.64 g/t gold. Based on a processing rate of 1 200 t/d, the project could produce 1 915 t/y of cobalt, 2 900 t/y of copper and 6 700 oz/y of gold in concentrate over a seven-year life-of-mine.

The operation will comprise a 1 200 t/d mill and concentrator to produce separated cobalt and copper concentrates.

Gold mineralisation in the reserve at ICO will be recovered at the São Miguel Paulista refinery, in Brazil, subject to Jervois’ completing the acquisition and restart of the refinery in stages during 2022 and 2023.

Jervois has also completed engineering design and costing, flowsheets to produce separate cobalt and copper concentrates, and calcined cobalt concentrate as part of the BFS.

Potential Job Creation
The project is expected to create about 200 construction jobs and 180 operational positions once the site transitions to commercial production.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a real post-tax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of $95.7-million and an internal rate of return of 40.6%.

Capital Expenditure

Planned Start/End Date
In January 2023, Jervois announced that first commercial concentrate production was now expected at the end of the first quarter 2023 and that it expected to ramp up to full nameplate capacity in the second quarter of 2023.

Latest Developments
Jervois Global will accelerate exploration at its ICO and a bankable feasibility study (BFS) for a cobalt refinery in the US as funding from the US government gets under way.

The company has entered into an agreement with the US Department of Defence (DoD), enabling the company to start the work funded by the DoD, which was awarded under the Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization office.

The accelerated drilling programme at ICO will define and expand the project’s RAM deposit, existing cobalt resources and, also potentially, delineate the adjacent Sunrise historic resource to modern geological standards.

Jervois suspended final construction at ICO in March, on the back of low cobalt prices, and US inflationary impacts on construction costs. However, the company expected the cobalt prices to recover in the medium term, driven by the energy transition and the growing demand for cobalt.

Meanwhile, preparation for Jervois’ US refinery BFS will be expedited, owing to efficiencies provided by the company’s April decision to pivot to the US refinery BFS, and work in progress on a cobalt refinery expansion BFS at Jervois Finland.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
DRA Global and M3 Engineering (BFS).

Contact Details for Project Information
Jervois Global, tel +61 (03) 9583 0498 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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