The following Press Release was sent out by Congressman Russ Fulcher (R). Press Releases sent out by elected officials do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Congressman Russ Fulcher (ID-01), Congressman Mike Simpson (ID-02), and Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) held a forum earlier today, “Celebrating the Benefits of Domestic Mining in the Gem State.”
Joining the Congressman were several representatives from Idaho government and businesses, including Matthew Lengerich, the Executive General Manager of Jervois Mining Ltd. Jervois Mining is managing the Idaho Cobalt Operations, a multi-million dollar project that is expected to begin production in mid-2022.
For the last 12 years, Jervois Mining, and the previous mine operator Formation Capital, have been building mining facilities at the Idaho Cobalt Operations project. The Idaho Cobalt Operations project is the culmination of careful planning, sound investments, and collaboration between complementary partners on the federal, state, and local level. The Idaho Cobalt Operations project shows how environmentally sound mining practices in the United States can assist American manufacturers while reducing our dependence on minerals from foreign adversaries.
Congressman Fulcher commented, “Through my experience working for a microchip company, I saw first-hand the benefit critical minerals exploration can pose to a country. Cobalt in particular has many uses like aerospace manufacturing and lithium-ion batteries. Rather than relying on other countries – some even being adversaries to the United States– for these critical minerals, our country should be fostering these opportunities domestically like we are seeing with the Idaho Cobalt Operations .”
Watch the full forum here.
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 growing push for clean energy technologies and electric vehicles, cobalt has been in demand more than ever with very few places in the world to find it. Currently, countries source their cobalt from places such as 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 surrounding communities, with regulations and protocols in place to protect both workers and the environment is something to celebrate.
The mine and the managing company, Jervois Mining, are expected to bring a significant positive impact on local and state economies while also establishing long-term opportunities to benefit the region in the future. The Idaho Cobalt Operations project is projected to create about 150 to 200 jobs in the Salmon-Challis area while supporting schools and local county services, protecting the environment, and continuously working toward sustainable conservation and clean water efforts.
Mr. Matthew Lengerich, Executive General Manager, Jervois Mining Ltd.
Mr. Lengerich previously worked at the Rio Tinto mine as General Manager of Digital Transformation, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mr. Lengerich was a key leader of Rio Tinto’s efforts to advance its capacity in artificial intelligence, data analytics and mine productivity across its global operating sites. Prior to these specialized mining technology roles, Mr. Lengerich served as General Manager of Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s integrated operations center in Perth, Australia.
Mr. Skip Brandt, Commissioner, Idaho County, Idaho
Commissioner Brandt is an Idaho native and longtime public servant. Prior to his service as an Idaho County Commissioner, he served as the mayor of Kooskia, Idaho and then as a member of the Idaho State Senate. Commissioner Brandt served as a County Commissioner of Idaho County, Idaho since 2007, and in March 2020, he was appointed to the Western Interstate Region Board.
Ms. Tammy Stringham, Executive Director, Lemhi County Economic Development Association
Director Stringham has worked closely with businesses and organizations in the regional communities since 2010. She is married with two grown children and she and her husband own the local Fly Shop in Salmon.
Mr. Tom Kealey, Director of Commerce, Office of Idaho Governor Little
As the State Commerce Director, he is a member of Governor Little’s cabinet who oversees all agency operations and is the Chief Economic Development and Marketing Officer for the State of Idaho. Mr. Kealey received his MBA in Strategic Planning and Marketing from Harvard Business School and a BA in Accounting and Finance from the University of Washington. He and his wife own the Chicago Connection Restaurant Groups, and he has decades of experience within the Idaho business community, holding numerous senior business roles in multiple Fortune 500 companies.
Tags: Dan Newhouse, Idaho, Mike Simpson, mining, Russ Fulcher