The Role of Cobalt in the Lithium Battery Market

While gold prices are influenced by macroeconomic developments and market uncertainties, demand for other metals, like lithium and cobalt, often depends on innovation. Reports by Markets and Markets estimate that the lithium ion battery market value was USD 23.51 Billion in 2015 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.6% between 2016 and 2022. Lithium cobalt oxide battery type is expected to hold a major share of the market by 2022. Lithium cobalt oxide based batteries provide high energy density, higher than other lithium batteries, and therefore are expected to increase in demand as a power source for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and digital cameras, among others.

Data published in a report by Research In China, reveals that in 2015 the global refined cobalt output was 98,000 tons or up 6.9% year over year, meanwhile the demand jumped 9.9% year over year to 89,000 tons. The report projects that the global cobalt demand growth will be much faster than the supply growth with the expected gap of around 1,000 tons by 2020, as the demand for new energy vehicle-use batteries escalates. Congo and other cobalt giants change policies as well as copper-nickel mines are shut down due to price pressures.

Scientific Metals Corp. announced that, "it has entered into an agreement with Earl Waite and Sons, Mining Contractors, to rehabilitate the adits and underground workings located on the Iron Creek cobalt project (the "Property") in Lemhi County, Idaho, USA. The Company plans to commence work when weather permit… The Property is located 15 miles southeast of eCobalt's Idaho cobalt project in the most prolific trend of cobalt mineralization in the United States, the Idaho Cobalt Belt. The Property covers 1,800 acres in 90 lode mining claims. The central portion of the Property consists of seven patented lode mining claims (private ground) covering 137 acres and the known historic estimates.

The Company plans to take full benefit of the advanced stage of exploration at Iron Creek as a result of significant work completed by previous workers, who include Noranda Exploration Inc., Cominco and Hanna Mining. All work will be conducted on the patented lode mining claims which cover the previously identified historic estimates (see the Company's news release dated September 7, 2016). The Company's focus of working on the patented claims significantly accelerates the permitting process for exploration programs, and gaining access to the cobalt mineralization in existing workings is expected to allow the project to advance during 2017 to a point that would normally take several years.

Katanga Mining Limited operates a large-scale copper-cobalt project with substantial high-grade mineral reserves and integrated metallurgical operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Their single-site operation, which comprises brownfield assets and new facilities under construction, will have one of the lowest unit production costs in the world, net of by-product credits. The January 2008 merger with Nikanor PLC, whose adjacent concessions had previously been part of the same mine complex, has consolidated our leadership position in the region and is expected to generate significant operating and financial synergies. Katanga holds a 75% stake in two joint ventures with Gécamines, a state-owned mining company in the DRC.

eCobalt Solutions Inc. is committed to providing ethically produced and environmentally sound battery grade cobalt salts, essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors, made safely, responsibly, and transparently in the United States. The company explores for mineral properties in Canada and the US. The company owns 100 percent interest in its primary asset, the Idaho Cobalt Project, which include the mine and mill site located in Lemhi County, Idaho, producing battery grade cobalt salts for rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors. It also holds interests in other properties exploring for silver, gold, copper, lead, zinc, and uranium.

Lithium Americas Corporation together with SQM, is developing the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project, located in Jujuy, Argentina, through its 50 percent interest in Minera Exar. In addition, Lithium Americas owns 100 percent of the Lithium Nevada project, and RheoMinerals Inc., a supplier of rheology modifiers for oil-based drilling fluids, coatings, and specialty chemicals. The Cauchari-Olaroz project is located in Puna Plateau, an area where over 80 percent of the world's lithium brine reserves are located.

Lundin Mining Corporation is a diversified base metals mining company. The Company is engaged in mining, exploration and development of mineral properties, primarily in Chile, the United States, Portugal, Sweden and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Its segments include Candeleria, Eagle, Neves-Corvo, Zinkgruvan, Tenke Fungurume and Other. Its geographical segments include Europe, Asia, South America and North America. It is engaged in producing copper, nickel and zinc. Its operating assets include the Eagle mine located in the United States, the Neves-Corvo mine located in Portugal and the Zinkgruvan mine located in Sweden. It also owns the Candelaria and Ojos del Salado mining complex located in Chile. It holds an indirect equity interest in the Tenke Fungurume mine located in the DRC and the Freeport Cobalt Oy business, which includes a cobalt refinery located in Kokkola, Finland. It is engaged in drilling on the Elida porphyry project.
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