Cobalt (chemical symbol Co) is a magnetic grey metal possessing similar properties to iron and nickel in terms of hardness and strength. Cobalt is one of only three naturally occurring magnetic metals.
Cobalt is an important raw material in the production of battery materials, high-temperature alloys, cutting tools, magnetic materials, superalloys, petrochemical catalysts and pharmaceuticals.
Cobalt is essential in defence and aerospace where it is widely used as an alloying element in a range of high temperature applications known as “superalloys”. When used as an alloy, cobalt improves the strength and corrosion resistance of common metals.
Today, most Electric Vehicles (EVs) and portable consumer applications are powered by cobalt based lithium ion batteries, initially commercialised in the 1990s. The breakdown of global cobalt consumption is shown in the figure below.
Driven by EV and Energy Storage System growth, Argus Media, a global minerals consultancy, forecasts cobalt demand to double from 2018 to 2030F – as shown to the right.