Technology fuels growing demand for cobalt

04.30.18

Cobalt is rapidly rising in price and could face possible shortages in the future, reports CNBC. Why? The once little-known element is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, which are in high demand because of their use in a wide array of technological devices, including mobile phones and electrified vehicles.

Cobalt prices more than doubled in 2017 from the previous year. Some companies have responded to the price jump by seeking to secure their own supply chains. Apple is reportedly trying to procure its cobalt directly from miners. Automakers BMW and Volkswagen have reportedly taken similar steps.

Of course, securing a supply chain may prove challenging as most of the world’s cobalt currently is mined as a byproduct of nickel and copper, making cobalt’s availability dependent on the market health of these other metals.

Some mining companies are planning new cobalt operations, which may balance supply and demand in the near term, but if electrified vehicles continue to gain market share, any stabilization may be short lived. (Source: CNBC)


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