Disruptive Discoveries Journal

LME

Cobalt as a Case Study in a Wobbly Global Economy

Chris BerryComment

By Chris Berry (@cberry1)

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Regular readers will know of my optimism regarding cobalt. The fundamentals look sound in a metals market that, already under pressure, appears headed lower. To wit:

·         Cobalt demand is growing by 6% overall with demand in the battery supply chain growing by some estimates at a CAGR of 10% out to 2020 - a good chink of the overall market. Current estimates for battery usage put the actual tonnage demanded at between 35,000 and 40,000 tpy. This is driven almost exclusively by cobalt’s use in the cathode of the lithium ion battery.  

·         Cobalt is mainly a by-product, produced as a consequence of nickel and copper mining rendering cobalt production hostage to the bullish or bearish tendencies of these other metals.