Jervois Mining Limited (ASX: JRV) has announced significant upgrades to its Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) modelling at its Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) in the United States.
The updated 2020 MRE increases the resource tonnage available for Reserve conversion (Measured and Indicated classifications), by over 20%. It has also increased the Measured contained cobalt resource by 22% over the previous 2018 model at the same cut-off grade.
The update follows the completion of 19 holes totalling 3,125m of diamond drilling to support its Idaho bankable feasibility study (BFS).
The updated model uses modified methodology to improve estimation using industry standard applications for narrow orebodies, with Jervois also adopting a more appropriate approach to stope and mine plan design.
This has involved block rotation and adoption of a smaller cell size than previously used, as the previous MRE released by eCobalt Solutions in February 2018 was unrotated and used cell sizes not conducive to the narrow high-grade interzone intercepts found in the Main Ram zone.
A broader mineralised envelope at ICO is significant as this represents potential upside to Jervois in the event that future cobalt prices are higher than prevail today.
Battery demand for cobalt is expected to rise sharply, and ethical, non-DRC, low capital sources of supply outside of ICO are essentially non-existent.
Jervois’ confidence in the economic potential of the ICO resource continues to grow as more information is generated for the updated BFS. Mine design and scheduling are progressing, as is plant design. An updated Reserve is expected to be released with completion of the BFS by the end of March 2020.
Jervois continues to believe there is significant potential to operate at higher production rates than currently formalised under existing feasibility studies in an environmentally responsible manner, with the rotation of block cells part of this. This will require no modification to the existing ICO operating permits which currently cap ore production at 1,200 short tons per day.
2020 drill programme planning will be undertaken in the near future to further prove up and expand the MRE once the summer drilling season commences.
In the meantime, a scoping study on a domestic cobalt refinery within the United States continues, with the production design scope rising to reflect the positive impact of a mining operation delivering higher volumes of cobalt concentrate.