Australian mining company Jervois Global has made the final investment decision (FID) to restart its 100% owned São Miguel Paulista (SMP) nickel-cobalt refinery in São Paulo, Brazil.

Under Stage 1, the SMP refinery is expected to produce 10,000 metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) of nickel and 2,000mtpa of cobalt metal cathode starting in Q1 2024.

In a press statement, Jervois said: “While not part of the restart, over time, Jervois will target the historic nameplate SMP capacity of 25,000mtpa of nickel via debottlenecking, including further investment.

“Assessment of the potential addition of a pressure oxidative autoclave (POX), is in progress, with its scope and potential release linked with third-party concentrate sale negotiations.”

The Australian company said it has increased the total capital needed for the SMP refinery project restart from the earlier estimate of $55m to $65m.

Furthermore, Jervois plans to undertake a fully underwritten A$231m ($150m) equity capital raising to fully fund the restart of the SMP nickel-cobalt refinery.

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By GlobalData

The equity-raising proceeds will also be used by Jervois to enhance its Idaho cobalt operations and for mine-sustaining capital expenditure and other general corporate activities.

In September 2022, Jervois secured an environmental installation licence for the SMP nickel cobalt refinery from the São Paulo State environmental regulator, Companhia Ambiental do Estado de São Paulo (CETESB).

Located in an industrial zone in São Paulo, the SMP nickel and cobalt electrolytic refinery began operations in 1981.

Designed and constructed by Outotec, the facility was placed on care and maintenance in 2016 by Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA), a subsidiary of Votorantim.

At that time, CBA also placed its Niquelândia mine and processing plant in Brazil on care and maintenance in the wake of weaker market conditions. Niquelândia provided nickel carbonate to the SMP Refinery.

Jervois purchased the refinery from CBA in 2020. The SMP Refinery had a 25,000mtpa production capacity of refined nickel cathode and 2,000mtpa of refined cobalt cathode.