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COBALT DEMAND

Experts forecast an average of 9% CAGR for cobalt over the period 2016 to 2022 (from a current (2016) demand of 96kt to 160kt)

  • Show global cobalt demand chart – Wood Mackenzie?

Ecar demand and growth; mention cities and countries that are proposing limits & bans on internal combustions ngine use

PRICE TRENDS/OUTLOOK

COULD COBALT PRODUCTS BECOME WORLDS FIRST MONOPSONY COMMODITY?

The auto industry is “waking up too late” to the fact that China is tracking to become the world’s go to supplier of cobalt for the rechargeable battery, Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of top producer of the metal Glencore, said on Tuesday according to a Reuters report.

“If cobalt falls into the hands of the Chinese, you won’t see EVs being produced in Europe etc. They (the car manufactueres) are waking up too late … I think it’s because the car industry has never had a supply chain problem before,” Glasenberg told the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo today has six of the top 10 cobalt mines globally. Due primarily to Chinese investment, by 2022, the central African nation will host the nine largest cobalt producers. Congo also holds half the world’s reserves.

Not only is primary production highly concentrated, but the downstream industry is beginning to resemble a monopsony. China, despite having no cobalt resources of its own, is responsible for 80% of the world’s cobalt chemical production

Glasenberg told FT Chinese refiners and processors “will have most of the offtake of cobalt”:

They’re not going to sell batteries to the world, more than likely they’ll produce batteries in China and sell electric vehicles to the world,” Mr Glasenberg told the conference.

Beijing has made electric vehicles a centerpiece of its war on pollution. It also wants the sector to spearhead the country’s Made in China 2025 innovation drive.

The China-Congo-Cobalt-nexus poses particular problems for automakers in the US and Europe. Not only in terms of securing supply but also the growing consumer awareness of ethical sourcing of materials.

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