Idaho Cobalt Operations
Idaho Cobalt Operations (“ICO”) is Jervois’ flagship primary cobalt deposit located in the mining friendly state of Idaho, United States, near the town of Salmon. Over the course of the last 20 years, approximately US$100 million has been invested in developing the mine. It is fully environmentally permitted up to 1,200stpd ore processing capacity and has high cobalt and copper grades, with a gold by-product. The ICO is located in the heart of the Idaho Cobalt Belt, a unique mineral rich, prolific metallogenic district unique to North America, which historically produced ca 2Mt of contained cobalt ore from the early 1900’s through to the 1960’s.
The Idaho Cobalt Operation consists of 243 contiguous unpatented lode mining claims located in east central Idaho, approximately 25.8 mi (41.5 km) west of the town of Salmon within the historic Idaho Cobalt Belt. Previously known as a mining community, Salmon was an area of past mining activities for Noranda’s former Blackbird mine and Meridian Gold’s former Beartrack gold mine. The ICO is located in the Salmon River Mountains of central Idaho, within the Northern Rocky Mountain physiographic province. The project area contains flat-topped mountains and moderate to steep V-shaped canyons, and covers an area ranging in elevation from 6,100 ft. to 8,100 ft. Vehicle access to the ICO is via a series of well-maintained, public-access gravel roads.
Geology & Mineralization
The ICO is centered within the Idaho Cobalt Belt – a unique example of sea-floor hydrothermal brines that vented along an ancient rift within a deep-water setting, providing for an interesting and distinctive geochemistry. The Idaho Cobalt Belt is a northwest-trending zone of Co-Cu-Au occurrences, over 60 km long and up to 10 km wide. It is an exceptional metallogenic province in which cobalt occurs in sufficiently high concentrations to make it the primary metal in the deposits.
The deposits are mostly strata-bound and appear to have formed during a mafic volcanogenic-exhalative mineralizing event on a paleo-sea-floor ca 1600 million years ago. More recent regional metamorphic events have remobilized Cu and, to a lesser extent, Co in varying degrees throughout the belt. The deposits are unusually rich in Co, Cu, Fe, As, Au, B, Bi and light rare earths, but low in Ni (relative to Co), Ag, Pb, and Zn. The synsedimentary controls, mineralogy and geochemistry are unusual among ore deposits, though similar features in some other deposits are known. Sediment-hosted deposits are major ore producers in the world, but unlike the Idaho Cobalt Belt, most tend to be Pb and Zn rich. Some sediment-hosted deposits that contain Cu also contain Co – notably, the deposits of the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the adjoining Zambian Copperbelt deposits.
The Idaho Cobalt Belt is currently known to host several Co-Cu deposits within various sequences of metamorphosed, mafic volcanoclastic rocks.
Mineralization at the ICO is closely associated with the mafic sequences of the middle unit of the Apple Creek Formation. Dominant ore minerals include cobaltite (CoAsS) and chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), with lesser, variable occurrences of gold. Other minerals present in small quantities are pyrite (FeS2), pyrrhotite (FeS), arsenopyrite (FeAsS), linnaeite ((Co Ni)3S4), loellingite (FeAs2), safflorite (CoFeAs2), enargite (Cu3AsS4) and marcasite (FeS2).
The ICO has been progressed to an advanced pre-construction level. Progress highlights include:
- Electrification of the pumpback water system is complete; water treatment pipelines are in place and secured for the winter season.
- The Water Management Ponds are completed.
- The liner of the Tailings Waste Storage Facility (“TWSF”) is 20% complete and the drain pipe has been installed. The completed portion of the TWSF is available to accept waste rock. A protective covering will be finalized in preparation for winter and the liner will be completed in the spring.
- The Water Treatment Plant (“WTP”) construction continues inside the recently completed WTP building. Commissioning is expected to be completed in conjunction with the pumpback system in preparation for the commencement of underground operations.
- Mill foundations have been largely completed.
- Potable water and power systems are installed and functioning.
- Phase 1 of the Portal Bench is under construction and will be completed shortly.
- The maintenance building is in place and functional.
Details can be found in the Update on Idaho Cobalt development strategy announcement.
ICO Site Overview – October 2018
A new Feasibility Study (“FS”) for the production of a separated cobalt and copper concentrates is in progress. The FS will be based upon a targeted production rate of 1,200 tonnes per day (“tpd”), Jervois is optimistc that further production increases are technically achievable and commercially attractive). A larger more robust plan will furthermore elevate Jervois’s position within the global cobalt market and ensure that ICO is globally competitive.
Work on the new FS has been reinitiated in earnest following the completion of the eCobalt merger, with the arrangement agreement available publicly.
Resources & Reserves
Table 1: 2020 Updated MRE for ICO using 0.15% Co cut-off
- Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and by definition do not have demonstrated economic viability. The Mineral Resources in this news release were estimated using the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), CIM Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines prepared by the CIM Standing Committee on Reserve Definitions and adopted by CIM Council (2014).
- This MRE includes Inferred Mineral Resources that are normally considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them and must not be converted to a Mineral Reserve. It is reasonably expected that the majority of the Inferred Mineral Resources could be upgraded to Indicated Mineral Resources with continued exploration.
- The Cobalt cut-off grade for inclusion in the resource is 0.15%, no consideration of copper or gold content was used in determination of cut-off grade.
- Contained metal values and totals may differ due to rounding of figures.
- The MRE was prepared by Scott Zelligan, P.Geo., who is an independent resource geologist.
- The effective date of the MRE is January 20, 2020.
- The MRE was based on the results of 111 drill holes completed at the Ram Property.
- The model was domained using newly modelled constraining wireframes. These were prepared based on a new compilation of all available data and a thorough review of the geological interpretation, including new structural modelling. This included 9 “zone” wireframes as well as multiple offsetting “fault surface” wireframes.
- The block model used to estimate the MRE has a block size of 12 ft x 12 ft x 4 ft and was rotated -14° around the Z-axis and -58° around the Y axis. These parameters were chosen in order to better represent the deposit with regards to potential mining methods.
- Drill hole data was composited to 2 ft lengths based on the statistical review of sample lengths.
- In the main zone Co grades were capped at 4% and Cu grades were capped at 4%. In surrounding zones, Co grades were capped at 0.7% and Cu grades were capped at 2%.
- Inverse-distance-squared was chosen as the estimation method after a thorough statistical and iterative review of different methods, as it reproduced the grade distribution of the input data best.
- Maximum search distances in the main zone were 320 ft, and 240 ft in the surrounding zones. Three search passes were used in order to best honour the grade distribution of input data.
- Resource categorization has been made in consideration of drill spacing, statistical continuity, deposit type, and consideration of the CIM definition standards.
Jervois received a positive Record of Decision on its Mine Plan of Operations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Forest Service as well as a water discharge National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009. These permits remain in good standing.
The change in targeted production rate in the new FS will not require any adjustments to the planned surface disturbance of the mine and mill, therefore no changes to the Company’s permits which comprise the approved Plan of Operations are required.
The ICO has the potential to be a district-scale project of significant importance on a global scale, providing a safe, secure and transparent supply for the growing cobalt market.
The Ram deposit remains open at depth and along strike offering significant opportunities for expansion. The Sunshine and East Sunshine deposits are within a mile trucking and or drift distance of the Ram and represent additional potential to the mineral resources of the ICO.
National Instrument 43-101 compliant Technical Reports and other information are available for review and download on the company’s Technical Reports page.
Darby Stacy, P. Eng., Process Manager at Formation Capital Corporation, U.S., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jervois Solutions Inc,, is the Qualified Person under NI 43-101 who has reviewed and approved the technical content on this website.