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Cobalt - general discussion

Dona Ferentes

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis
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@JohnDe posted some content in the Cobalt Blue thread , including a link to an article in The Economist about the oft-touted issues of artisanal mining, esp in DRC:
The ultimate prize is the cobalt that will be extracted from the rock. For decades unloved, cobalt is now at the heart of the green economy. It is an essential component of batteries in phones, laptops and electric cars, which are now the biggest source of demand. The authors of an imf paper published last year predicted that consumption of cobalt could increase six-fold by 2050..

An investment opportunity, or 'pie in the sky'?

Cobalt has become a necessity for battery production, previously, a relatively ignored mineral with low profit and ignored by the major miners. This allowed poor workers in third word countries to dig out a niche and supply the world. It also upend up the market to unscrupulous miners and local leaders, paying the poor and children a pittance to mine Cobalt in dangerous environments.


And then there was a seismic change. Ethics, ethical financing, Covid, China, EV's and battery storage popped up. Cobalt is now deemed as a major part of the electrification and decarbonizing of the world, but companies do not want to be associated with child labour, environmentally and dangerous mining practices, or reliant on China.

Can Australia supply large quantities of Cobalt? What fluctuations in Cobalt pricing will we see as more miners come on board and clean up their act.

How the world depends on small cobalt miners
The metal is key to the global energy transition. But its artisanal market is broken.

........... A quick search brings up quite a few ASX listed hopefuls, as well as COB

AML Aeon Metals ... 100%-owned Walford Creek Copper-Cobalt Project in north-west Queensland, Australia.
AUZ Australian Mines ... Sconi Cobalt - Nickel - Scandium Project, Flemington Cobalt - Nickel - Scandium Project, Broken Hill Project and Bell Creek Nickel - Cobalt Project.
SRL Sunrise Energy Metals .... (formerly Clean TeQ), a large cobalt-rich (plus Scandium) nickel laterite deposit in NSW
NC1 Nico Resources ....100% owned Wingellina Nickel-Cobalt Project, part of the Central Musgrave Project
GAL Galileo Mining .... exploration and development of cobalt and nickel resources, near Norseman and Fraser Range WA
KNI Kuniko Limited .... copper, nickel and cobalt projects in Scandinavia
KOB Koba Resources ..... exploring a portfolio of high-grade cobalt projects in the USA
AEN Aeramenum Resources .... soon to list; occurrences of high-grade nickel, copper, gold and cobalt in sulphides in Cyprus

from 2017
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Sean K

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Gee, cobalt has had a shocker the past 12 months. A bit like tin. Both went a bit nuts in 2021 and just had to correct at some stage. Must be getting close to a bottom of the cycle.

Screenshot 2023-03-01 at 11.15.29 am.png
 

Dona Ferentes

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis
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Gee, cobalt has had a shocker the past 12 months.
It has, as shown here, as we drill down into aspects of the trade:
Screenshot_20230302-075434_Chrome.jpg
Must be getting close to a bottom of the cycle.
But that may not be the case, with more weakness ahead.

A brawl between Chinese mining giant CMOC and its Congolese state-owned partner over royalty payments means its exports from the country have been blocked since mid-July.

Meanwhile, its tier 1 Tenke Fungurume mine has kept running at close to full clip, “simply stockpiling the extra metal until it can resume shipments”, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The 250,000tpa copper, 20,000tpa cobalt mine is the #2 biggest copper producer in the DRC.

Bloomberg estimates an ever-growing stash of ~120,000 tons of copper and ~12,500 tons of cobalt is stuck waiting to leave the country.

That’s about 7% of total global monthly
copper production, “and is unlikely to affect international prices when it does hit the market”.

But for
cobalt, 12,500t represents ~7% of total global annual production. If the stockpile is dumped on the market it could further weaken already soft prices for the battery metal.

The cobalt metal price has continued its bearish run in 2023, driven by soft demand and negative sentiment as major raw material producers, such as CMOC, announce sizeable ramp-ups at their assets..
 
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