DOD looks to expand domestic cobalt supply

By Tony Bertuca / June 15, 2023 at 1:36 PM

The Defense Department has entered into a $15 million agreement with Jervois Mining USA, a subsidiary of Jervois Global Limited, to conduct feasibility studies that could expand cobalt extraction in Idaho, according to a new Pentagon announcement.

The agreement, which taps Defense Production Act Title III funds, “will enable Jervois to undertake mineral resource drilling that will accelerate the improved definition and expansion of currently known cobalt resources at Jervois's Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) and the adjacent Sunrise deposit and studies to assess a domestic U.S. cobalt refinery,” DOD said.

Cobalt is important, DOD said, because it is a key component of multiple munitions and high-temperature aerospace alloys used in high-capacity batteries.

The project with Jervois, DOD said, “is a critical step” in the U.S. effort to decrease dependency on overseas sources for key minerals.

"In investing in domestic cobalt resources, Industrial Base Policy is building a sustainable, responsible industrial base capable of meeting our future national defense challenges" said Laura Taylor-Kale, the assistant secretary for industrial base policy.

“Investments such as these execute President Biden's focus on strengthening supply chains for critical minerals for large capacity batteries and are one step in the Defense Department's strategy for minerals and materials related to batteries,” she said.