Understanding The Cobalt Supply Chain

Mining Cobalt Ore

Cobalt is primarily extracted from the ground as a byproduct of copper and nickel mining. According to the Cobalt Institute, 98% of the world’s Cobalt results from the mining of other metals.

It is estimated that the earth’s crust contains roughly 7,100,000 metric tons of Cobalt. It is most often found in naturally occurring metallurgic alloys.

Where is Cobalt Mined

Cobalt has become one of the most important minerals used in batteries and electric vehicles. The largest cobalt producing mines are located in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The five largest Cobalt mines in the DRC are:

  • Metalkol RTR Project
    Launched in 2018, also known as The Roan Tailings Reclamation in the Kolwezi region. The operations serves to reclaim copper and cobalt from historic tailings that were originally extracted beginning in the 1950s using older techniques and technology. The tailings were dumped in the local environment, including into the Musonoi River. The mine is a primary supplier to Chinese cobalt refineries.
  • Tenke Fungurume Mine
    Situated in the African copper belt, the Tenke Fungurume Project (TFM) first began producing copper in 2009. In 2017, BHR Partners (Bohai Harvest RST), a joint partnership between The Bank of China and Hunter Biden acquired a 24% stake in TFM with funding provided by the Chinese state. The Bohai Harvest stake was later sold to China Molybdenum, a Chinese state-owned mining company in 2019 for more than $1.14 billion.
  • Mashamba East Mine
  • Sicomines Copper-Cobalt Mine
    The Sicomines Project is located in the Kolwezi Mining District. The project is controlled by the Chinese company Sino-Congolaise des Mines. https://icsin.org/blogs/2021/08/27/chinese-mining-in-the-drc-from-sicomines-to-global-cobalt-monopoly/
  • KOV Mine
    The KOV Mine is a large open-pit copper mine in Kolwezi. The mine contains some of the highest-grade copper ore found in the ground. The project is also one of the largest sources of cobalt in the world.
    The mine is owned by a joint partnership between Glencore (75%) and GĂ©camines (25%).
    The project has been the source of much controversy, particularly due to miners and workers being forced to endure dangerous conditions. There have been several high-profile accidents that resulted in the deathss of local miners.
    In 2016, seven miners were killed when one of the walls of the mine collapsed. In another collapse in 2019

The top 10 mines in the world.

Companies Mining Cobalt

Separating Cobalt from the Ore

Increasing Cobalt Purity through Refining

Where is Cobalt Refined

Transporting Cobalt from Mine to Refinery

Cobalt Uses in Manufacturing

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