Which cobalt producers have the largest reserves? Let’s take a look at countries that hold the most of this critical metal.
Cobalt has been on everyone’s lips the past couple of years. Prices have shot up, and more and more investors are becoming interested in this critical metal.
As demand for cobalt rises, market watchers are particularly keen to find out where it may be mined in the future. That’s why it’s important to review cobalt reserves, or how much economically mineable cobalt a country holds.
By keeping an eye on these numbers, it’s possible to guess which countries may become — or continue to be — powerhouses in the cobalt industry.
For instance, even though the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the world’s top cobalt producer, holds the world’s largest reserves of cobalt, Australia has a sizeable amount as well — but without the same widespread issues that the DRC has. Knowing this kind of information can help investors get ahead of the curve, as opposed to on the bandwagon with everyone else.
With that in mind, here’s an overview of cobalt reserves by country. All cobalt reserves numbers are based on the US Geological Survey’s most recent data.
1. Democratic Republic of Congo
Cobalt reserves: 3,500,000 MT
As mentioned, the DRC holds the world’s largest reserves of cobalt. It’s also the world’s top cobalt producer, providing more than 50 percent of global supply. Unfortunately, the DRC is also home to political unrest, making it a challenging place for miners to do business. What’s more, mining in the country has been linked to human rights abuses, and taxes on cobalt could be set to rise.
Despite those challenges, the DRC is likely to remain key to the cobalt market for the foreseeable future. As Caspar Rawles of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence has said, “there’s no lithium-ion battery industry without DRC cobalt.”
Cobalt reserves: 1,200,000 MT
Cobalt producer Australia puts out much less cobalt than the DRC, but its reserves of the metal are still quite impressive. It produced 5,000 MT of cobalt in 2017, making it the third-largest cobalt producer, and its reserves stand at 1,200,000 MT.
Currently most of Australia’s cobalt is produced as a by-product of copper and nickel mining. Clean TeQ Holdings (TSX: CLQ) claims that its Sunrise project in New South Wales is “one of the highest grade and largest nickel and cobalt deposits outside of Africa.”
Cobalt reserves: 500,000 MT
Cuba’s cobalt reserves are the third largest in the world. The cobalt producer’s output came in just behind Australia in 2017, at 4,200 MT. The island nation was torn apart by winds from Hurricane Irma in 2017. While many perished, with streets flooded and homes destroyed, mines reported little damage.
The Moa mine is a nickel-cobalt joint venture operation in the country shared between Sherritt International (TSX:S) and the General Nickel Company of Cuba.
More cobalt reserves by country
The DRC, Australia and Cuba have the highest cobalt reserves, but many other countries also hold significant cobalt reserves. Here’s a quick look at where other nations stand:
- Philippines — 280,000 MT
- Zambia — 270,000 MT
- Canada — 250,000 MT
- Russia — 250,000 MT
- Madagascar — 150,000 MT
- Papua New Guinea — 55,000 MT
Various other countries hold a total of 560,000 MT of cobalt reserves, according to the US Geological Survey. The total world reserves figure sits at 7,100,000 MT.
Which cobalt reserves would you consider the most auspicious or worthy of investment? Let us know which cobalt producer has your vote in the comments below.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Amanda Kay, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.