18 May 2021. Today sees the publication of the Cobalt Institute’s “State of the Cobalt Market 2020 Report”. The Cobalt Institute commissioned Roskill – a leader in critical materials supply chain intelligence – to look at the global trends in cobalt consumption, supply and production in 2020. The report is the most comprehensive publicly available market overview to date.
David Brocas, Lead Cobalt Trader at Glencore and Chairman of the Cobalt Institute’s Executive Board, said: “Building on evidence from 2020, the report outlines the current and future state of the cobalt market by a well-respected provider of critical minerals supply chain intelligence. The report topics and potential outcomes are key considerations for developing an unbiased approach to achieving the green recovery and a sustainable future.”
According to the report, the cobalt market grew by 5% year-on-year. The major drive for this growth was the demand for cobalt in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. It accounted for 57% of the total cobalt consumption in 2020, followed by nickel-based alloys and tool materials (13% and 8% respectively).
The cobalt market also remained robust despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic: the Covid-19-related shutdowns, and weaker demand in certain segments such as aerospace.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo remained the largest source of cobalt supply, accounting for 66% of the global mine supply. Asia was the largest cobalt-consuming region, with China being the leading cobalt-consuming country (32% of global cobalt consumption).
Cobalt recycling was a fast-growing and important source of cobalt feedstock to the supply chain, accounting for 10.6kt in 2020 with 65% coming from battery recycling. This figure will grow once batteries are produced on a larger scale and more electric vehicles are deployed across the world.
Overall, the Cobalt Institute expects to see a greater increase in the use of cobalt in batteries, with the report projecting demand for electric vehicles growing by nearly 30% annually to 2025. Combined with the expectations for traditional cobalt applications – such as aerospace and tooling – to recover from the pandemic, prospects for the cobalt market look bright for the coming years.
State of the Cobalt Market Report (English version)
State of the Cobalt Market Report (Mandarin version)