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construction|copper|defence|flotation|mining|project|service|sustainable|drilling|operations

Jervois waiting for better days at ICO

7th August 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

     

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KALGOORLIE (miningweekly.com) – Cobalt developer Jervois Global will only consider restarting the construction of its Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) if the cobalt price reaches above the $25/lb threshold.

The ASX- and TSX-V listed company earlier this year suspended construction at ICO owing to falling cobalt prices and inflationary impacts on construction costs in the US, telling shareholders that not mining ICO cobalt at cyclically low prices would preserve the optionality and inherent strategic value of ICO for shareholders and key stakeholders.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Diggers & Dealers conference, Jervois CEO Bryce Crocker told Mining Weekly Online that in order for the project to become economically sustainable, the cobalt price should increase from its current levels of about $16.50/lb to around $25/lb.

“All commodities are cyclical, but cobalt is cyclical on steroids. It is highly volatile. What we really need is either to be confident that the price will be above $25/lb and will stay there indefinitely, or we need a customer that can underwrite a floor price. We are prepared to give a cap as well,” Crocker said.

ICO was scheduled to produce its first cobalt and copper concentrates in the second quarter of 2023, and Jervois has spent nearly $130-million on construction at the project. At full production, the mine would have produced 1 200 t/d of ore, with a milling and flotation circuit to match.

Crocker said that operations have now been scaled down at the mine, with staff numbers cut from 300 to 30. Holding costs at the project are currently estimated at around $1-million a month.

Jervois last week started a $2.4-million drilling campaign at the Sunshine deposit, adjacent to the ICO, with mobilisation under way and drilling expected to start in September, pending final Forest Service Approval.

The drilling is being funded by the US government under a previously announced Department of Defence funding agreement worth $15-million.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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