The issue at the heart of industrially mined cobalt supply is that it is almost exclusively a by-product of copper and nickel mining, Benedikt Sobotka said.
This means that cobalt production volumes are tied to their core-product rather than underlying cobalt demand, he said.
“In view of this, industrially mined cobalt supply is unable to proportionately respond to the current boom in end-use demand,” Sobotka said during the annual LME Week in London.
“Our internal analysis shows that the recent announcements of restarts and capacity expansions at major operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are too little, too late. Moreover, bringing new production capacity on stream takes considerable time and is subject to strict government oversight, as is the case in the DRC,” he noted.
The DRC is the world’s largest producer of cobalt, a key ingredient in batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs)....