Australia-based Jervois Global has selected Afry USA to undertake a basic engineering (BW) and bankable feasibility study (BFS) for a proposed greenfield cobalt refinery in the US.

The BFS focuses on the 6,000-metric-tonne-per-annum cobalt refinery, which will have the capacity to process cobalt in sulphate form, suitable for use in the auto industry.

The refinery is expected to support the country’s transition to high-performance, safe electric vehicles.

In a press statement, Jervois said: “Refinery feed is expected to be based on approximately 20% recycled cobalt, largely in ‘closed loop’ recycling, whereby cobalt material used by customers is returned to Jervois for reprocessing.”

Jervois said the BFS cost, including for engineering, will be fully reimbursed by the US Government through the previously announced $15m funding agreement with the Department of Defense’s Defense Production Act Title III.

Earlier this year, Jervois suspended final construction work at its Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) in the US due to a drop in cobalt prices and inflationary impacts on construction costs in the country.

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At that time, Jervois said: “Jervois has determined that not mining ICO cobalt at cyclically low prices will preserve the optionality and inherent strategic value of ICO for shareholders and key stakeholders including local communities and the State of Idaho. The company also views not mining ICO at current prices is consistent with US Government critical mineral policy objectives.”

In April 2023, Jervois said it will redirect its BFS from a planned refinery expansion at Finland’s Kokkola Industrial Park to a greenfield cobalt refinery in the US.