A market deficit for cobalt is narrowing as the world’s leading producers of the prized metal expand production to meet the spike in demand for batteries used in electric vehicles.
Amid the surge in EV sales this year, hunger for cobalt drove major producers to announce plans to increase output at multiple mine sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo and balance the market.
Some battery- and EV-makers seek to find alternatives to cobalt, which can be costly or loaded with allegations of human rights abuses. But the metal will likely continue to play a key role in rechargeable batteries in cars and on the grid, at least in the short term.
The market is expected to move into surplus in 2022 after suffering an estimated shortage of 1,800 tonnes of refined cobalt this year, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence’s latest forecast published Sept. 22.