Global demand for cobalt will continue to grow in years to come, despite the pandemic and associated with this negative outlook for international economic, according to recent statements, made by representatives of some global mining companies, operating in this field and market analysts.
According to them, the ever growing demand will contribute to the acceleration of development of some of the world’s largest cobalt fields. According to analysts, the volume of cobalt mining may be significantly increased on the basis of some of largest fields in North America, which are located in Idaho, Montana and Alaska, as well as the African region.
In regard to Africa, particular hopes are put on the increase of cobalt production in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the world’s leading country in terms of cobalt reserves (up to 60% of global reserves).
It is expected, global consumption of cobalt in 2021 will reach 150,000 tonnes, compared to 75,000 tonnes in 2011. That will be also due to the ever growing popularity of electric cars.
In the meantime, as the production of cobalt in Congo is associated with serious political and geopolitical risks, (as well as a high level of corruption) most of global cobalt producers plan to consider some alternative sites for the production of the metal in years to come. Another reason, which may restrict their activities in Congo is the existing cases of child labor in the mining sector of the country.
According to UNICEF, in 2014, approximately 40,000 children worked in mines in southern DRC. Human rights activists from Amnesty International reported that children worked in mines for up to 12 hours a day, earning one or two dollars a day.
By: Eugen Gerden