Australia company seeks exploratory drilling OK in Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Australia mining company wants to begin exploratory drilling for the rare element vanadium in southeast Alaska.

CoastAlaska reports that Northern Cobalt Ltd. has applied to the U.S. Forest Service for the proposed project on Snettisham Inlet. The site is located in the Tongass National Forest about 35 miles southeast of Juneau.

Vanadium is used in steel alloys, as well as rechargeable industrial batteries.

There are no active federal mining claims at the site. Exploratory drilling for iron ore was conducted at the location in 2012, but those claims were abandoned amid a collapse in iron prices.

In a promotional video, the company's managing director Michael Schwarz notes the site's proximity to a power station.

The Forest Service is reviewing the company's application and accepting public comments through July 26.

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