Geovic Mining said it could start mining at its Nkamouna cobalt, nickel and manganese project in Cameroon this year.

Interim manager Conrad Houser said that if digging begins in 2010, full commercial production will start around 2013-14 although mining could be delayed until April 2011, depending on the outcome of a feasibility study currently underway.

The company also wants to build a 6,000t-per-month refinery on site in order to process ore and upgrade the final quality of the cobalt, nickel and manganese that will be extracted.

In 2009 Geovic lowered its cost projection to $250m-$300m from an original $400m and delayed production until 2012 from an initial target of 2010, due to weak metals prices and the difficulty of raising funds.