Cobalt, called blue gold, is one of the most important raw materials responsible for the technological leap of the last 20 years.
Its wide use and the possibility of combining it with other elements are responsible for the high demand for cobalt on global markets and further use of the mineral, in particular in modern technologies, is positively forecast. OROTAL experts have observed that the cobalt market has recently been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but within a few months the situation should stabilize.
Cobalt – a component of new generation devices
Cobalt is currently one of the most sought-after resources in the world. This is mainly due to the fact that it is used for the production of efficient lithium-ion (Li-Ion), nickel-cobalt-manganese (NMC) and lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminium oxide (NCA) batteries, used in electric cars, electronics such as computers and smartphones, as well as engines and turbines. Securing sufficient cobalt to supply the needs of battery production is now a strategic goal for major car manufacturers.
Demand for cobalt
Cobalt mining is directly related to copper or nickel mining – it is only found as an admixture of ores. A decrease in demand for copper or nickel means lower cobalt production and an increase in its price on world markets. In turn, an increase in copper and nickel production heralds surplus cobalt and contributes to the stabilization of prices of the mineral. However, long-term trends remain relatively stable – over the past two years, despite temporary fluctuations, the demand for cobalt has doubled, and up to threefold growth is forecast by 2025.
– Demand for cobalt will depend, among others, on the technological development of batteries – explains our specialist in the resources market. – Currently, in the battery of an average smartphone there is about 8 grams of cobalt, and in an electric car as much as 4 to 30 kg – he adds. The instability of cobalt extraction forces prospectors to look for alternatives, but they are neither as popular nor effective as “blue gold”.
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the cobalt market in 2020
Gas turbine manufacturers and airline companies have a significant share in the cobalt market. The mineral, in the form of superalloys, is used for the production of blades in jet engines and gas turbines. Problems in the airline industry caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the suspension of large investments in the energy industry may translate into a reduction in cobalt demand and increased market availability over the next few months.