Having recently sewn up the lead engineers for finalisation of a bankable feasibility study (BFS) at its 100%-owned ICO cobalt-copper project in Idaho, US, Jervois Mining has selected Wood as its preferred engineering contractor to progress the refinery scoping study at the project.

The ICO, planned to be the only domestic cobalt mine within the US, is expected to commence commercial concentrate production in the second half of 2021.

Jervois said Wood has expertise in the refining of sulphide concentrates through to both battery-grade crystal and refined LME copper and 99.8% LMB cobalt metal, which will be of use in this study. The company said: “Wood is well placed to lead the engineering study which includes an initial high-level review of commercially available technology for the refining of sulphide concentrates through to metal.”

Battery recycling technology and third-party feed processing will also be considered to highlight future market opportunities that may enhance the refineries strategic importance within the US and further improve the economic returns, Jervois said.

Mineralogy and metallurgical test work progressing at SGS will optimise the selective cobalt concentrate chemical characteristics and be applied in the flowsheet options study.

“As part of the current feasibility study being led by DRA and M3, preliminary results obtained from the SGS test work have achieved satisfactory separation and selectivity between copper and cobalt,” Jervois said, adding that locked cycle tests are planned to define the improved selectivity.

The Wood refinery study will be completed during the March quarter in conjunction with the previously announced feasibility study to concentrate.

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