Dow Jones Newswires: TORONTO – A handful of Canadian miners are ramping up operations to mine cobalt, betting on demand for a socially responsible source of the metal that is in high demand as a key component of electric cars.
Most cobalt currently comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where supply is threatened by political, legal and labor issues. That means car makers and battery suppliers are increasingly looking elsewhere for the mineral.
Miners in Canada such as Vale SA, which has a cobalt-producing mine in Sudbury, Ontario, Sherritt International Corp., and smaller firms such as Royal Nickel Corp., First Cobalt Corp. and Fortune Minerals Ltd. are raising funds and engaging in exploratory drilling.
Mainly through operations led by Vale, Canada is the world’s third-biggest producer of cobalt, after the Congo and China, accounting for about 6% of the world’s supply, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The metal is a crucial component of lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power electric vehicles as well as portable electronic devices due to its ability to conduct electricity when stacked with other metals such as lithium and nickel.
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