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Electric Vehicles Drive Cobalt Demand

  • APICS staff
  2018

The demand for cobalt is surging due to the cellphone and electric vehicle industries, according to The Wall Street Journal

Cobalt is valuable because it can endure the intense heat of lithium-ion batteries. Historically discarded or avoided when mining for other metals such as silver, its new use and high price mean companies are now scrambling to retrieve the cobalt that was left behind.

“It’s not that there’s no more cobalt out there; it’s that we’ve never been paid [enough] to go find cobalt,” said Trent Mell, chief executive of cobalt-exploration group First Cobalt.

Stock prices of cobalt companies are soaring as automakers are gathering the necessary supplies for their future fleets of electric vehicles. Nearly 100,000 metric tons of cobalt are produced each year for lithium-ion batteries. However, it’s believed that the demand for cobalt will be triple that amount by 2030, according to commodities researcher CRU Group.

Nevertheless, some predict that, should the price and demand for cobalt continue to rise, invention might demand an alternative. Carmakers and developers will be incentivized to create an electric vehicle battery that doesn’t depend on the metal or needs less of it. 

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