Newhouse, Fulcher, Simpson Host Forum to Highlight New Idaho Cobalt Mine

"Celebrating the Benefits of Domestic Mining in Gem State”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Rep. Russ Fulcher (ID-01), and Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-02) hosted a Congressional Western Caucus virtual forum titled, “Celebrating the Benefits of Domestic Mining in the Gem State.” The forum highlights the Idaho Cobalt Operations project in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, managed by Jervois Mining Ltd., which will be the first active underground cobalt mine in the United States. Click here to watch the forum.
“In Washington, D.C., we often get bogged down by arguments about policies and regulations, and the outlook this past year under the Biden Administration has been particularly grave with increasing burdensome red tape on resource-based industries,” said Chairman Newhouse. “So, I believe it’s extremely important to recognize that there are successful efforts – that bolster our economy, our national security, our energy independence, all while supporting the environment – that are taking place throughout rural America, just like this example in the great state of Idaho.”
“It has made no sense whatsoever to depend on our enemies for critical minerals – especially when we have such blessings of those minerals in domestic areas like my home state of Idaho,” said Rep. Fulcher. “…This project has benefits worldwide, homeland security advantages, and positive ramifications on the economy. As you know, mining today is not mining of decades ago. Processes are much cleaner, and harvesting of this material is sustainable and friendly to the environment. This is a positive thing – unfortunately it’s all too rare that this happens, but we are fortunate and blessed to have this taking place in the United States and in Idaho.”
“For Idahoans, responsible mining projects mean economic investment in local economies, including good-paying jobs. As a nation, if we work to responsibly utilize Idaho’s invaluable resources, we can loosen the grip that foreign nations currently have on the global critical mineral supply chain,” said Rep. Simpson. “…Without a domestic supply, we cannot ensure the future of emerging technologies. With the support and input from local communities and stakeholders, it’s my hope we can improve access to mining on federal lands – because that’s where most of these critical minerals are located – and that future cobalt deposits remain open to exploration and production across Idaho.”
The Members heard from four participants during the forum who emphasized the economic, environmental, and energy security benefits the cobalt mine will bring to Idaho’s communities and the United States:
  • Matt Lengerich, Executive General Manager for Jervois Mining Ltd.
  • Commissioner Skip Brandt, Idaho County
  • Tammy Stringham, Executive Director of the Lemhi County Economic Development Association
  • Director Tom Kealey, Idaho Department of Commerce
By summer of 2022, the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho will be home to the only fully-functional underground cobalt mine in the United States. This project, known as “Idaho Cobalt Operations,” has been authorized since 2009 with construction underway since 2012.
Due to a global push for clean energy technologies and electric vehicles, cobalt has been in demand more than every with very few places in the world to find it. Currently, countries source their cobalt from places like China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which both utilize forms of child and slave labor. Having a domestic source of cobalt that supports the surroundin communities – with regulations and protocols in place to support both workers and the environment, is something to celebrate.
The mine and the company managing it, Jervois Global, are expected to bring a significant positive impact on local and state economies while also establishing long-term opportunities to benefit the region. The Idaho Cobalt Operations project is projected to create approximately 150 to 200 jobs in the Salmon-Challis region while supporting schools and local county services, protecting the environment, and continuously working toward sustainable conservation and clean water efforts.

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