US’ Only Cobalt Mine
Issues: Mining, Renewable Energy, Watersheds
Partner: Idaho Conservation League
Airport Origin : Challis, ID
Days after commissioning began, we conducted an overflight of our nation's only cobalt mine with press and Idaho Conservation League.
The Idaho Cobalt Belt is home to the largest known cobalt deposit in the United States. Commissioning on the mine began October, 7, 2022. Our overflight examined Jervois Global's Idaho Cobalt Operations, our nation's only functioning cobalt mine, which is slated to be fully operational in 2023. Cobalt is an essential component to common electric vehicle batteries, and is used in jet airplane engines and wind turbines. Currently, 70% of cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The opening of this cobalt mine outside of Salmon, Idaho will domesticate some cobalt production (around 10% of overall U.S. demand), helping our economy, bolstering our nation's clean-energy capacity, and supporting a more ethical mining industry.
EcoFlight's partners at Idaho Conservation League are working with the mines operator, Jervois, to ensure the project is conducted responsibly, with the highest level of environmental safeguards, and in respect to Indigenous communities. Our overflight examined Idaho Cobalt Operations, as well as other mines in the area that place heavy burden on the environment and regional Tribes - projects like the Thompson Creek Mine, and its giant tailings dam that threaten the ecosystem and fragile Snake River fish runs. Idaho Conservation League is working with Jervois to allow this essential 21st century element to be mined in a 21st century way, with ample environmental safeguards and practices.