The world needs Africa’s cobalt

7/12/2018 8:29:02 AM

Cobalt, to be found mostly the in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is getting more important to the world every day. The price of this scarce metal is going up every year. Today, cobalt sells at $95,000 per ton, compared to $23,000 two years ago. Demand will grow, as electric vehicles, jet engines, mobile phones and laptops all need cobalt.

The growing demand for the precious metal could lead to major global shortages and even higher prices, Forbes reports. The growing electric vehicle market needs cobalt badly, as it is a key ingredient used in lithium-ion batteries. There is no real alternative for cobalt in batteries. Replacing cobalt with nickel improves energy density but reduces stability.

The Democratic Republic of Congo produces the majority of the world's stock of which China is the world's largest consumer as its increasingly vital rechargeable battery industry accounts for around 80% of cobalt usage. The country has attempted to get more control over the industry.

The U.S. holds about 1 million tons of cobalt resources, scattered around the country. Experts say the west needs mining to start soon if it does not want to lose the global race for cobalt, that has been going on for some time.

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