BLACKFOOT, Idaho — A cobalt mining operation and hydrometallurgical refining facility could be built in Idaho, pending mine financing.

Capital Corp., U.S., a wholly owned subsidiary of eCobalt Solutions Inc., received an economic feasibility study that outlines the development of a cobalt mining operation near Salmon, Idaho, and hydrometallurgical refining facility on a railhead in neighboring Blackfoot, Idaho. The project is known as the Idaho Cobalt Project and is owned by eCobalt’s wholly owned subsidiary, Formation Capital Corp., U.S.

Construction of the project is contingent upon the successful conclusion of mine financing. If completed, the Idaho Cobalt Project will be designed to produce cobalt for the rechargeable batteries market.

“The buzz on electric cars is making it happen,” said Llee Chapman, Formation Capital Corp. vice president of administration.

Chapman has more than 30 years of experience in the mining industry, including time in Elko, where he was involved in politics and the community, and later served for about five months as the director and CEO of Veris Gold Corp., which sold its Elko County mines in 2015 to Spott Mining Inc., according to Elko Daily Free Press archives.

Chapman said that most of the country’s cobalt comes from the Congo, Russia and Australia, adding that “the world is going to need a lot more.”

The total initial capital cost is estimated at $187 million with additional sustaining, reclamation and closure costs of $101 million totaling $288 million.

Approximately 160 jobs would be created at the Idaho Cobalt Project, including 65 in Blackfoot.

According to the recently completed company feasibility study, the eCobalt mine would produce a cobalt/copper/gold concentrate then processes to produce cobalt sulfate heptahydrate, which is used in the production of rechargeable batteries. The company has already invested more than $65 million in Salmon’s mining operation.

 “The economic impact the mining and refining operations would have to this region is enormous,” said Jan Rogers, CEO of Regional Economic Development for Eastern Idaho.

The refinery would be the “only one in the free world,” Chapman said.

Paul Farquharson, president and C.E.O. of eCobalt also touted the need for cobalt.

“Our project is an important development for the battery supply chain enabling access to a secure, stable, ethically sourced and environmentally sound supply of battery grade cobalt sulphate, mined safely and responsibly in the United States,” he said.