Market Synopsis —
Market Research Future (MRFR) speculates that the Global Cobalt Market is estimated to register a healthy CAGR of 8.25% during the forecast period (2018-2023). The surging demand for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries is likely to encourage the market globally. Cobalt is considered as an essential raw material for lithium battery which is extensively used in computer, electric vehicles, communication, and consumer electronics. Cobalt finds applications in electronics, batteries, and super alloys due to several properties like corrosion resistance, high temperature resistance, high tensile strength, and high melting point.
April 04, 2019: First Cobalt, a Canadian-based pure-play cobalt company has achieved a major milestone after the production of a battery grade cobalt surface by using its refinery flowsheet. The company’s Ontario refinery can produce either a cobalt metal for the military and aerospace sectors or a cobalt sulfate for the lithium-ion battery market and is the only permitted primary cobalt refinery in the North American region.
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The prominent players operating the Global Cobalt Market comprises Eramet, Glencore, BHP, Sumitomo Corporation, Vale, Umicore, Votorantim Metals SA, Huayou Cobalt Co. Ltd., Jinchuan Group International Resources Co. Ltd, Sherritt International Corporation, and Freeport Cobalt.
Market Potential and Pitfalls
The inflated demand for lithium ion batteries are highly encouraging the market growth across the globe. These batteries are the standard power supply component which is extensively used in electronic devices and other vehicles. For instance, 106.5 KT of cobalt was consumed globally in 2017, with majority of the production catering to the manufacturing of battery chemical. The extensive application of cobalt in large-scale sectors like automotive and electronics makes it a prime industrial material. Due to a surging use in automotive and electronic manufacturing sectors in the recent past, the demand for Cobalt has witnessed an upsurge.
Electric vehicles have mushroomed recently which is partly driving the demand for lithium-ion batteries. With the rising focus on shifting to vehicles running on clean energy to an increased concern over the emission of CO2, the market is reflecting a favorable growth. Cobalt is also extensively used in the manufacturing of various types of metal alloys like superalloys, magnetic alloys, and wear-resistant alloys. The tough nature of cobalt can endure certain degree of rough handling. Such factors are likely to trigger its demand over the years.
On the contrary, the high cost of refining and mining of cobalt is considered to have a negative impact on the investor’s confidence in the industry worldwide. Moreover, the irregularity in supply owing to the lack of advanced infrastructure coupled with the political instability in leading cobalt exporting and exporting nations like the Democratic Republic of the Congo is likely to vitiate the market growth.
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Global Cobalt Market: Segmental Analysis
The Global Cobalt Market has been segmented on the basis of Form and Application.
By Mode of Form, the Global Cobalt Market has been segmented into chemical compound, metal, and purchased scrap. Among these, the chemical compound is likely to retain its pole position as it finds widespread application in the manufacturing of rechargeable batteries. Chemical compounds are also used as a colorant for glass, porcelain, tiles, pottery, and enamel wear, which drives the segment.
By Mode of Application, the Global Cobalt Market has been segmented into super alloys, battery chemicals, hard metals, ceramic and pigments, binder materials, magnets, life science, and others. Among these, the battery chemicals segment commands the leading share in the global market. The growth is ascribed to the extensive use of cobalt to manufacture rechargeable batteries for portable electronic devices like laptops, mobile phones, and tablets along with e-mobility vehicles like hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, electric bikes, and electric trains.
Geographically, the Cobalt Market span across regions namely, Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.
Considering the global scenario, the Asia Pacific region is considered a highly active market for cobalt, with China on the top list as the most attractive nation for investment. China has taken the lead position in processing and refining of metal. The country has also emerged as the major manufacturing hub for electronic device, which makes it an important market for several industrial materials. Most of the Cobalt which is produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, considered the world’s top source of metal is purchased by the Chinese companies like Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt and is then refined back to China. The strategy aims to control the supply chain so that the production of electric car is virtually impossible without the involvement of China.
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