Reliance on Congo Cobalt Grows Despite European Discoveries – by Jason Deign (Green Tech Media – June 5, 2018)

“Ultimately, there will be no lithium-ion industry without DRC cobalt.”

The lithium-ion battery industry’s dependence on cobalt from the Democratic Republic of the Congo will rise despite ore discoveries in Europe, analysts believe.

Caspar Rawles, an analyst with Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said the percentage of global cobalt supply coming from the DRC was set to go up from 66 percent in 2017 to more than 73 percent by 2023, even though mining firms are rushing to uncover deposits elsewhere.

Last month, for example, the Australian production and processing company Lithium Australia announced the discovery of cobalt mineralization at mines in Eichigt, in the state of Saxony in Germany.

“Initial exploration focused on copper-bearing quartz veins that were subjected to small-scale mining activities during the 16th century,” said Lithium Australia in a press release. “Significant cobalt and copper mineralization was encountered, with grades up to 0.6 percent for cobalt and 0.48 percent for copper.”

Adrian Griffin, Lithium Australia’s managing director, said that “strong, previously undescribed cobalt mineralization at surface confirms the limited nature of past exploration. The diggings encountered are testimony to the considerable extent of the strike.”

Griffin said the cobalt “could prove a strategic feed into the burgeoning battery industry” in Europe as a number of manufacturers gear up to build lithium-ion gigafactories. And Lithium Australia is just one of several mineral extraction concerns looking for cobalt in Europe.

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