After a hiatus of nearly three decades, mining operations for cobalt will resume in the United States. The increased demand for batteries to power electric vehicles is driving up prices around the globe, which in turn is driving up demand for the raw material.
In the United States, cobalt extraction from the ground occurred for the final time in 1994. Like Europe, the country depends mainly on Congo and China for mining and processing the blue ore.
In recent decades, cobalt’s relevance has increased as a critical component of batteries for electronic devices such as smartphones and electric vehicles. According to the Bloomberg news agency, the demand for the raw material on a global scale is expected to increase from 127,500 tons in 2022 to 156,000 tons in 2030. Most of the growth may be attributed to increased consumer interest in electric vehicles. This is because many nations are promoting electric driving as a more environmentally friendly option than diesel and gasoline vehicles.
Establishing a new cobalt mine in the United States is essential to achieving greater resource independence. Jervois Global, an Australian mining company, will launch the mine on the following Friday. At an elevation of more than 2,000 meters above mean sea level, it can be found in the Salmon River Mountains in Idaho.
When operating at total capacity, the mine should generate 2,000 tons of raw ore annually. “There are not many fresh sources of supply, particularly in certain jurisdictions, and this is a problem. Because of this, the mine in the United States is significant,” remarked Bryce Crocker, Chief Executive Officer of Jervois.
The crude oil is refined in other countries before being shipped back to the United States. Jervois is currently negotiating potential business collaborations with third parties in Canada and Australia and operating a cobalt refinery in Brazil.