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ASX-listed Jervois has started underground construction at its Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO), in the US.

The company in July this year approved the $78.4-million construction of the ICO, with first production expected from mid-2022.

The project was partially constructed when Jervois acquired it in July 2019, with more than $120-million invested by the previous owners since the discovery of the cobalt deposit.

The final construction of ICO will include the development of an underground mine over a ten-month period, starting in September this year, with first ore scheduled to an operational mill by July 2022.

The operation would comprise of a 1 200 t/d mill and concentrator to produce separated cobalt and copper concentrates. Gold mineralisation in the reserve at ICO will be reported to the cobalt concentrate, and will be recovered at the São Miguel Paulista refinery, in Brazil, subject to Jervois completing the acquisition and restart of the refinery in stages during 2022 and 2023.

Jervois on Tuesday said that the start of underground work marked the first time in decades that the US would have a primary cobalt mine.

The company told shareholders that broader site construction activity continued, and first drawdown of the $100-million bond offering continued to be anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2021.