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a critical metal that comes from Africa

It is obvious: cobalt is one of the critical raw materials for the electric car. A report from Cobalt Institute shows that in 2021 the cobalt market showed “unprecedented” demand growth of 22%, with the automotive industry as the most demanding sector of this mineral above smartphone manufacturers.

Specific, electric vehicles consumed 59,000 tons of cobaltaccounting for 34% of demand last year, and is expected to account for half in 2026.

Almost all of the cobalt came from Africa

According to the study, mobile phone manufacturers consumed 26,000 tons of the metal used in lithium-ion batteries, while laptops and tablets accounted for 16,000 tons of total demand, which reached 175,000 tons.

Cobalt Institute

Graphic: Cobalt Institute.

Last year, 160,000 tons were extracted, showing that each year more and more cobalt is demanded.

Although manufacturers like Tesla have been looking for years decrease the amount of cobalt and nickel in its batteries with lithium iron phosphate chemistries, in 2021 battery chemistries containing this mineral accounted for three quarters (74%) of the global electric vehicle battery market.

The Democratic Republic of Congowhere the largest reserves are concentrated and where there is an enormous violation of human rights, continued to be the largest source of cobalt supply, representing 74% of the world’s mining supply.

The report also reveals that China remained the world’s largest refiner of cobalt. (72% of total primary production), with Indonesia in second place.

Cobalt I

Graphic: Cobalt Institute.

“Securing access to raw materials is crucial if the world is to achieve a sustainable and just transition to a greener future,” said David Brocas, Director of Cobalt Trader at Glencore and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Cobalt Institute.

That’s why automakers have already started teaming up with mining companies and exploring ways to source raw materials.

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I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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