Ceo Bryce Crocker, Idaho, Salmon River discussed on All Things Considered

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The cobalt mine in the remote mountains of Idaho, not far from the famous salmon river. Unlike the past mine which polluted local trout streams, CEO Bryce Crocker says environmental safeguards are in place, including $40 million in guaranteed cleanup funds if something goes south. This mine is also mostly underground, not the old massive open pit. I think this is a really important development for the U.S.. Important geopolitically, he means, most of the cobalt mined in the world currently comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there are widespread child labor and other human rights problems. Auto is the only cobalt mine in the United States and is going to remain so. So we viewed it as a strategically important asset for the country and then also happened by default Jeff laugh for us to be trusted with stewardship of it to bring it into production. The Idaho mine will at least initially be a blip in the global market, barely projected to meet 10% of current demand in the U.S.. It'll be a while before we could actually say that this is going to be a growth industry. Brad Martin is director of supply chain security at the Rand corporation. If the ultimate product is batteries, batteries are all pretty much made in China or Korea. So there may be this is a step and maybe a useful step, but it's certainly not the be all end all. And the cobalt from this mine will all be shipped to a refinery in São Paulo, Brazil, to be processed. Because current projections show only an initial 7 year run here, making building a U.S. refinery two costly for now, but company officials say they're eyeing new federal funds that might help

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