Bidders for $500m Canada streaming deal as cobalt price surges–report – by Frik Els ( – January 30, 2018)

Cobalt prices have been one of the main beneficiaries of the scramble for battery materials by auto manufacturers.

The metal quoted on the LME recently topped $80,000 a tonne, a gain of 140% since the beginning of last year. Measured from its record low hit in February 2016, the metal is more than $50,000 more expensive.

Annual production of the raw material is only around 100,000 tonnes with the bulk coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where fears about political instability and the challenges of ethical sourcing combine to supercharge supply concerns.

The supply picture is further complicated as nearly all cobalt produced globally is as a byproduct of copper and nickel mining which slows down project development and supply growth despite unprecedented demand.

Reuters reports Tuesday Vale has hired Canada’s Bank of Montreal to raise around $500m from bidders for cobalt that will be produced at the Brazilian giant’s Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in eastern Canada, citing four sources. Vale is extending the nickel mine underground to extend the life of the mine to 2035, but depressed nickel prices have slowed development.

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