Will There Be Cobalt Mining In Idaho?

By Rachel Sun

A geological survey in Idaho could pave the way for future mining of cobalt, which is considered a critical mineral for defense and electronics. The survey is funded through a partnership with The Idaho Geological Survey, U.S. Geological survey, and funds from the  Idaho Cobalt Company, New Jersey Mining Company and Idaho’s Revival Gold Incorporated

As nations worldwide become increasingly dependent on technology, one mineral — cobalt — has stood out as a critical resource. Now, a six-hundred-thousand-dollar survey aims to provide a detailed map of over twelve hundred square miles in Idaho’s Salmon region, where mining companies hope to cash in on that demand.

Claudio Berti, director of the Idaho Geological Survey, says a goal of the work is to provide greater independence from international cobalt sources, “There are minerals and elements that the US uses and any modern economy uses. And there is short supplies, and the supplies are mostly under a specific monopoly, almost a monopoly. And so, the idea is to lose dependence from other nations.”

Though no mining has begun, the information gleaned could pave the way for future operations. Bonnie Gestring, a northwest representative for the nonprofit conservation group Earthworks, says it’s important for the public to know about the ecological impact of mining. “Mining is the leading source of toxic releases in the United States. So, it releases more hazardous materials to the air, water and land than any other industry by far.”

Berti says data from the survey is expected to be publicly available within the year.