eCobalt Solutions is planning to meet the growing demand for rechargeable batteries following the completion of a feasibility study at the Idaho cobalt project (ICP) in the US.

Based on an underground mine, the study is said to have returned positive economics, projects a target production rate of 800 short tonnes per day (tpd).

The study determined that the project will have a mine life of 12.5 years with a weighted average annual production of 2.4 million pounds of cobalt, 3.3 million pounds of copper and 3,000oz of gold.

The company indicated that the study’s outcome allows it to advance the project to the next stage, as well as pursue financing, construction, and production.

eCobalt Solutions president and CEO Paul Farquharson said: “Pre-construction activities are underway in preparation for project construction and mine development contingent upon successful project financing.

“The feasibility study highlights multiple opportunities to enhance the economics of the project.”

“The project’s main competitive strengths are having a primary cobalt deposit located in the US and a high reserve grade when compared to other existing sources of cobalt located globally.

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“The feasibility study highlights multiple opportunities to enhance the economics of the project and these include expansion of the resource, optimisation of the mine plan to process higher grade material and detailed engineering at the CPF to further reduce risk and improve capital and operating costs.”

The economic model takes into consideration a 34% corporate tax rate and a 7.5% discount rate, leading to an after-tax net present value (NPV) of $135.8m and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 21.3%.

The company plans to build the cobalt production facility (CPF), which is a hydrometallurgical refining operation in Blackfoot, Idaho.

It indicated that the project will produce cobalt chemicals meant for the rechargeable batteries market, alongside by-products of copper concentrate, copper sulphate, magnesium sulphate and gold.