Even though the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the largest producer of Cobalt in the world, supplying over 60,000 tons out of the total 110,000 tons that’s produced globally ever year, Canada has managed to hold its own so far.
Canada is the fourth largest Cobalt producer with an annual production of more than 4,000 tons.
Cobalt Production in Canada
Did you know that Cobalt is also a small town in Canada? Situated in the province of Ontario, Cobalt was heavily mined for silver in the early 1900s. A historical hotbed for silver ore mining, this quaint town is now controlled by First Cobalt that owns more than 100 square miles of the entire region.
This makes First Cobalt the largest junior miner of cobalt in the world. First Cobalt also controls Frontier and Keeley mines that produced over 3 million pounds of cobalt between the years 1908-1961 which is an interesting fact.
According to the head of CBLT Inc, Peter Clausi, the mineral deposits around Cobalt are over and done with. But the Gowganda area located around 85 kms west of Cobalt, Ontario, is brimming with unexplored cobalt deposits.
Apparently, it is easy to find new supplies of cobalt in areas that are deemed safe for mining, and Gowganda has been popular for its abundant silver mines in the past that produced substantial quantities of cobalt.
Granted, it would take a lot of capital to make northern Ontario a major player in the cobalt production game, but given the limited options, it’s perhaps the best option. And this investment should pay off. Any resource is going to require upfront investment to get that resource to market – that’s the norm.
To make sure that cobalt production and supply doesn’t fail to meet market demand, a proportional investment is required.
The Cobalt Mining Industry: What Does the Future Hold?
As we mentioned earlier, the current production of cobalt is around 110,000 tons worldwide annually. At its current price, it means the total value of the entire cobalt market is less than $8 billion.
Global tech giants like Tesla, Apple, and BMW are all major consumers of cobalt since their cutting edge products are built with this minor metal. If its supply runs short, these companies could suffer since they will not be able to make as many cars and phones as they want.
And the supply will run short. The exploding demand for lithium-ion batteries that are used in every piece of technology these days, from mobile devices and computers to electric vehicles, a supply shortage seems almost inevitable.
Although it would be easy to blame the major cobalt miners for this situation, it must be noted that they are only catering to the rising demand by companies like Apple and Tesla. Tech giants like these have only been concerned about their product and failed to look towards the future when a cobalt shortage could negatively impact their empires.
The European Union has actually declared cobalt a “critical” mineral, signalling the risk of falling supply and potential consequences for their economy.
President Trump also directed federal agencies in 2017 to find new sources of cobalt. Moreover, these events clearly signify how sensitive the global situation with regard to cobalt supplies is at present.