Idaho has a New Rush Coming, But This Time It’s Not for Gold
Cobalt is a metal used to help make technology parts. According to Heart Land Daily News "Demand for cobalt has risen as it is an essential mineral for the production of the lithium ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) and electronics, and in the magnets used in wind turbines. The mine, located in Lemhi County, Idaho, is owned by Jervois Mining, an Australian company that specializes in extracting minerals used for making batteries. Although the main mineral produced at the underground mine is cobalt, the company also expects it to produce copper and gold."
Idaho is one of the only places in the U.S. with cobalt reserves and an already established cobalt mine. Michael Holtz from The Atlantic toured the mine, "Salmon-Challis National Forest sits atop what is known as the Idaho Cobalt Belt, a 34-mile-long geological formation of sedimentary rock that contains some of the largest cobalt deposits in the country." Jervois who owns a lot of the area "estimates that its mine in the Idaho Cobalt Belt will produce 1,915 metric tons of cobalt annually, enough for about 160,000 electric-vehicle batteries. Geologists are fairly sure that the Jervois and Electra claims encompass more than 40,000 metric tons of the metal, enough to fulfill U.S. demand for five years."
The buzz around cobalt is a big one and Idaho is one of the few places where it can be found, especially in large amounts. Six different international mining companies have put in permits to put their hat in the ring for claims on the area. Decades ago mining in the Blackbird area destroyed much of what surrounded it. Regulations, permits, technologies and processes have updated and changed a lot since then but still makes local and nature conscience Idahoans nervous.
We all knew that our land here in Idaho was a little extra special, from the gold rush to gems galore to now the cobalt rush, we have it all here in Idaho.