Cobalt is an essential material needed for the creation of lithium batteries for Electric Vehicles. As the auto industry is transitioning towards electrification, the need for cobalt has never been higher. As a result, the United States’ largest-to-date cobalt mining operation has officially launched at a remote site in the Salmon-Challis National Forest.
Unites States “Cobalt Belt” Mining In Idaho Restarts
According to Idaho Mountain Express, at full production, the “Idaho Cobalt Operations” should produce some 16,890 tons of cobalt over its eight-year lifespan. That amount should be enough to power between 1.1 and 7 million electric vehicles, depending on battery composition. The first domestic cobalt ore shipment is expected to go out by early 2023. According to Australia-based mining and exploration company Jervois Global, the plateau the campus is built on sits on a reserve amounting to 4 million tons of ore with a cobalt concentration of 0.5% higher than the overage cobalt ore grade of 0.1%.
Electra Battery Materials Corporation also recently confirmed the existence of a new cobalt zone in the Idaho Cobalt Belt. The new drill intercepts are located in close proximity to the Company’s flagship Iron Creek cobalt-copper deposits. According to Electra Battery Materials, the company is making significant investments in North America to help the electric vehicle supply chain. The state of Idaho clearly has an important role to play as two companies are investing in mining the material.
The Idaho Cobalt Belt is a 40-mile-long band of mineral deposits containing cobalt, copper, gold, and other metals. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Democratic Republic of the Congo churns out about 70% of the world’s cobalt ore. Meanwhile, the U.S. only produces 0.4% at the Eagle Mine, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, most as a byproduct of nickel and copper mining. However, the new mining operations will quickly change that number by a significant margin.