PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX- and TSX-V-listed Jervois Global on Tuesday announced that it will pivot its bankable feasibility study (BFS) for a proposed refinery expansion at the Kokkola Industrial Park in Finland to a greenfield cobalt refinery in the US.
The company recently suspended construction at its Idaho Cobalt Operations (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.
In the meantime, the company has applied for funding from the US Department of Defence (DoD) to accelerate drilling to increase the mineral resource and reserves at ICO, and to assess the construction of a US cobalt refinery, which will both proceed despite the suspension of construction at ICO.
Jervois said on Tuesday that the BFS now being undertaken would be based on the flowsheet, engineering, environmental assessment and other BFS sections already developed by Jervois Finland and consulting firm AFRY Finland Oy for the expansion in capacity of Jervois’ Kokkola operations by 6 000 t/y of refined cobalt in sulphate.
The company will continue the BFS activities based on situating a 6 000 t/y cobalt refinery in the US, with the product to be exclusively sulphate to focus on demand growth in electric vehicles from American automakers.
The company added that cobalt refinery capacity in both the US and Europe, along with the planned restart of the São Miguel Paulista refinery in Brazil, would consolidate Jervois’ status as a globally significant supplier of advanced cobalt products, with leading environmental and social governance credentials.
Jervois said on Tuesday that funding for the BFS could become available from the DoD under the Defense Production Act Title III programme. The company noted that should either Finland or the European Union provide "meaningful financial support" or incentives similar to those provided in the US in future, the Kokkola expansion would be revisited.
Meanwhile, Jervois said that the company was in funding discussions for the potential development of both a US cobalt refinery and a Finnish refinery expansion with government and industry partners, including automakers.