China Facts: Can the world produce enough cobalt to support the roll-out of electric vehicles?


The only thing that can accelerate as fast as an electric car is the price of the most expensive metal in its batteries. Once a niche input used to strengthen turbine blades, cobalt's value has soared since it started to feature in modern electronics. Most phones need a few grams' worth, and every car requires 5-10 kg. That adds up. Cobalt is a by-product of mining nickel and copper. Even the sharp rise in cobalt's price thus far has not been enough to justify fresh investment in digging more nickel and copper out of the ground. The Democratic Republic of Congo is rich in cobalt, but.. According to one estimate, by 2030 at least as much of the stuff will be needed for transport alone as was mined in 2017. Deep sea mining might be the solution as much of the floor of the Pacific ocean is lined with nodules rich in cobalt.


*) the Economist 1st December 2018 








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Hans Henrik Pontoppidan
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