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Globally around 90,000 tonnes of cobalt is produced annually, over 50% of which is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and over 40% of which is refined in China. The majority of cobalt produced globally is recovered as a by-product of copper and nickel mining. There is a wide array of industrial uses for cobalt, of which rechargeable batteries, such as lithium-ion and nickel-metal hybrid, comprise 27% of demand, super-alloys, mainly for aircraft gas turbine engines, comprise a further 19%, chemical catalysts 10%, and magnets, used in wind turbines and electric motors, comprise 8% of current demand. Over the past decade, increases in cobalt demand have resulted largely from chemical applications, most notably for rechargeable batteries used in plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, which are expected to experience compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 15% to 20% through 2020, dominating cobalt consumption. With the vast majority of cobalt being produced in politically unstable regions and refined in regions prone to the imposition of export restrictions, supply risks are high for the rapidly growing cobalt market, which will see 7% demand growth year-over-year through 2016.

Current market trends and challenges:

    By-product of copper and nickel mining

    Wide array of industrial and chemical applications

    More than 50% mined annually in DRC     Over 40% of annual supply refined in China

    Political instability and export restrictions pose supply risks 

Batteries, magnets, and catalysts are fueling demand growth Home About Us Coverage Areas Our Research Consulting
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