All three are used in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles, and electric vehicle makers like Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) are on the hunt for companies to source those metals from. Sourcing cobalt in particular is tricky, partially because the majority of the world’s cobalt comes from the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). What’s more, about 60 percent of cobalt production is a by-product of copper — that means cobalt availability is often impacted by the copper price.
In 2016, those supply and demand dynamics spurred investor interest in cobalt companies and pushed the metal’s price up by about 25 percent. To help investors get an idea of the current cobalt company landscape, we’ve put together a list of TSX-listed cobalt stocks with year-to-date gains. All companies listed have a market cap of at least $50 million.
eCobalt Solutions (TSX:ECS)
eCobalt Solutions, formerly Formation Metals, is a mineral exploration and mine development company. The company’s primary project is the Idaho cobalt project in the US, but it also holds properties in Canada and Mexico.
The company announced last fall that the feasibility study for its Idaho project was “maintaining its critical path.” Year-to-date the company’s share price has increased 57.41 percent and is now at $0.85.
Katanga Mining (TSX:KAT)
Katanga Mining has a large-scale copper-cobalt project in the DRC, but is currently not processing either of those metals. In 2015, it suspended processing in order to focus on processing plant upgrades and waste stripping at the KOV and Mashamba open pits. A new leach plant is due to start commissioning in the second half of this year, and processing is expected to resume after that time.
The company’s share price is currently at $0.21, a 50-percent gain year-to-date.
Fortune Minerals (TSX:FT)
Fortune Minerals is a development-stage mining company and past producer. Fortune is currently focused on advancing its vertically integrated NICO cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project, which is comprised of a proposed mine and mill in the Northwest Territories. The operation will produce a bulk concentrate that will be shipped to a refinery that the company plans to build in Saskatchewan.
The NICO deposit contains proven and probable mineral reserves totaling more than 33 million tonnes. It will support a 21-year mine life at a planned mill throughput rate of 4,650 tonnes of ore per day. Most recently, Canada’s federal government announced that it will pay 25 percent of the cost of building an all-season road that will help provide access to NICO.
The company’s share price has jumped 40 percent year-to-date and is sitting at $0.175.
First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM)
First Quantum Minerals is a growing company that produces copper, gold, nickel, cobalt and zinc. It operates six mines, including the Ravensthorpe nickel-cobalt mine, which produces a mixed product of approximately 40 percent nickel and 1.4 percent cobalt on a dry basis.
First Quantum bought Ravensthorpe from BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP,ASX:BHP,LSE:BLT) in 2009 after nickel prices collapsed, then resumed commercial production two years later after making modifications to its processing plant. In January, the company was fined $40,000 for an incident that occurred at Ravensthorpe in 2014.
Year-to-date the company’s share price has increased 24.49 percent and is currently sitting at $16.62.
Lundin Mining (TSX:LUN)
Lundin Mining is a base metals miner with operations in Chile, the US, Portugal and Sweden. It primarily produces copper, nickel and zinc, but also holds an indirect 24-percent stake in the Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine in the DRC and in Freeport Cobalt. The latter includes a cobalt refinery located in Kokkola, Finland.
The company’s share price is now at $7.86, a 22.81-percent gain year-to-date.
Sherritt International (TSX:S)
Sherritt International is engaged in the mining and refining of nickel and cobalt from lateritic ores, and has operations in Canada, Cuba and Madagascar. The company recently reported that its total cobalt production for 2016 was 6,967 tonnes. This year, it expects to produce between 7,300 and 7,900 tonnes of the metal.
Sherritt’s share price is currently at $1.42, up 6.77 percent year-to-date.
PolyMet Mining (TSX:POM)
PolyMet Mining is focused on permitting, building and operating its NorthMet copper-nickel-cobalt-precious metals project. The company expects the project to produce 72 million pounds of copper, 15.4 million pounds of nickel, 720,000 pounds of cobalt and 106,000 ounces of precious metals annually.
Most recently, the company announced that the US Forest Service has authorized a land exchange for NorthMet. The company will receive approximately 6,650 acres of surface land above and around the project’s orebody.
PolyMet’s share price is currently at $1.09, an increase of 9 percent year-to-date.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Fortune Minerals is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.