Who has the most cobalt?
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the largest cobalt reserves in the world, at some 3.5 million metric tons as of 2021. As the total global cobalt reserves amount to 7.6 million metric tons, this means that the DR Congo's cobalt reserves account for nearly half of the world's reserves of the metal.
On a global basis, the leading use of cobalt is in rechargeable battery electrodes. Superalloys, which are used to make parts for gas turbine engines, are another major use for cobalt.
Cobalt is commonly used in electroplating because of its appearance, hardness, and resistance to oxidation. Cobalt compounds have been used for centuries to create a rich blue color in glass, glazes, ceramics, porcelain, pottery, tiles, and enamels.
Events, Trends, and Issues: Congo (Kinshasa) continued to be the world's leading source of mined cobalt, supplying approximately 70% of world cobalt mine production. With the exception of production in Morocco and artisanally mined cobalt in Congo (Kinshasa), most cobalt is mined as a byproduct of copper or nickel.
There are three basic ways that cobalt can cause poisoning. You can swallow it, breathe it into your lungs, or have it come in constant contact with your skin. Cobalt poisoning can also occur from the wear and tear of some cobalt/chromium metal-on-metal hip implants.
Cobalt, by nature, is a finite resource: There is only so much that exists in the world.
China alone now accounts for about one-third of the cobalt consumption worldwide, while Europe's and North America's consumption amounted to nearly 23 percent and nearly 18 percent of the global consumption as of 2020, respectively.
Currently, China processes about 80 percent of the world's cobalt.
China is a world leader in cobalt consumption, of which 80% is sent to the rechargeable battery industry. Domestic Chinese upstream manufacturing and resource extraction of cobalt, however, make up only 23% of the global electric vehicle supply chain.
Cobalt is an essential raw material for superalloy, cemented carbide, diamond tool, batteries, anticorrosive and magnetic materials. It is widely applied in fields including aerospace, electronic appliances, machinery manufacturing, automobiles, chemical industry, agriculture, ceramics, etc.
Is cobalt used for batteries?
Cobalt ensures cathodes do not easily overheat or catch fire and it helps extend the life of batteries which automakers usually guarantee for eight to 10 years.
Cobalt is an essential mineral for the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, laptops and smart phones. It offers the highest energy density and is key for boosting battery life.
Tesla released interesting and rare details about its approach to sourcing lithium, nickel, and cobalt directly from mines instead of through its cell suppliers. This approach is going to be critical as companies fight to secure those minerals for battery production to support electric vehicle growth.
The cobalt will come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Glencore has been operating a copper mine in the Katanga region since 2008 that produces it as a byproduct... Tesla defended its cobalt sourcing in a company report.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is said to be home to more than 50 percent of the world's cobalt reserves and tops every list of cobalt reserves by country. The DRC has an estimated 3.6 million tonnes of cobalt available for extraction.
It is used in nuclear weapons, alloys, and pigments. Deficiency in animals leads to anemia; its excess in humans can lead to erythrocytosis. Except for radioactive forms of cobalt and cobalamin, the FDA withdrew its approval for the use of drug products containing cobalt salts.
The average adult intake of cobalt is 5 to 8 mcg per day. A safe Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for cobalt hasn't been set yet. Trace amounts of cobalt are found in most foods. Foods high in vitamin B-12 are the only source of cobalt used by the body.
It can harm the eyes, skin, heart, and lungs. Exposure to cobalt may cause cancer. Workers may be harmed from exposure to cobalt and cobalt-containing products.
Mostly, researchers have replaced cobalt with nickel. "The higher nickel you go, the better the energy density," Arumugam Manthiram, an expert in energy storage and professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told UPI.
Tesla helped pave the way for stricter supply chain labor and less reliance on cobalt for EV battery production. The company's batteries contain** less than 5% of cobalt,** and they're currently developing their own batteries that will be cobalt-free.
Do lithium batteries need cobalt?
No, lithium-ion batteries do not have to use cobalt. Lithium-ion chemistries without cobalt include: Lithium Ferrous (Iron) Phosphate (LiFePo4 or LFP)
Cobalt production in Canada in 2020, by province (in metric tons)*
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In fact, Glencore boasts being one of the world's top producers of cobalt, primarily as a byproduct from its copper mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
|Characteristic||Reported (includes secondary)||Apparent (includes secondary)|
Musk explained that while Apple's batteries use 100% cobalt, Tesla's use is much lower: “Apple uses I think almost 100% cobalt in their batteries and cell phones and laptops, but Tesla uses no cobalt in the iron-phosphate packs, and almost none in the nickel-based chemistries,” Musk said.