Top Cobalt Production by Country

Cobalt production is hot and getting hotter. Here are the 10 top cobalt-producing countries of 2020, based on US Geological Survey numbers.

Despite the decrease in cobalt prices, interest in the battery metal is still riding high, with analysts cautiously optimistic about cobalt production in the coming years.

One of the metal’s main catalysts is excitement about electric vehicles. The lithium-ion batteries that power these cars require lithium, graphite and cobalt, among other raw materials, and demand is expected to keep rising as the shift toward electric vehicles continues.

Given those circumstances, it’s particularly interesting to look at top cobalt production by country. According to the US Geological Survey, global supply decreased slightly in 2020 to 140,000 metric tons (MT) from 144,000 MT the previous year. Read on for a closer look at cobalt supply.

1. Democratic Republic of Congo

Mine production: 95,000 MT

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is by far the world’s largest producer of cobalt, accounting for roughly 60 percent of global production. The country has been the top producer of the metal for some time, even though its output decreased from 100,000 MT in 2019 to 95,000 MT in 2020.

As demand for cobalt rises, increasing attention is being directed at the DRC. However, cobalt mining in the country has been linked to human rights abuses, including child labor. Because of this, in 2017, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) temporarily stopped buying cobalt mined by hand in the DRC. Due to increased concerns about supply, the London Metal Exchange is also taking steps to ensure all the brands listed on the exchange are following responsible sourcing guidelines.

In addition, in 2018, congress in the DRC passed a revised mining law that increased taxes on cobalt, copper and other metals. Most recently, the country set up a new state company to buy and market all artisanal cobalt mined in the DRC with the aim of controlling the entire supply chain and boosting government revenue by having more influence on cobalt prices.

All that said, the DRC is likely to remain key to the cobalt market for the foreseeable future. Glencore (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) has interests in two mines in the African country, Katanga and Mutanda. Katanga is set to become the world’s top producer of cobalt, the mining giant says. Mutanda, the current largest cobalt mine in the world, was put on care and maintenance in 2019; however, Glencore is expected to bring the mine back online in 2022.

2. Russia

Mine production: 6,300 MT

Russia’s cobalt production remained flat in 2020, coming in at 6,300 MT.

With concerns about DRC cobalt running high, some automakers are calling for increased electric vehicle battery production in Europe. It’s possible that this push could prompt higher cobalt demand from Russia in the future — the only question is whether the country will be able to keep up. While its cobalt reserves stand at 250,000 MT, Russia is still well behind the DRC in terms of production.

Large Russian miner Norilsk Nickel (OTC Pink:NILSY,MCX:GMKN) produces cobalt and is in the world’s top five producers of the mineral.

3. Australia

Mine production: 5,700 MT

Australia saw a small decrease in cobalt production from 2019 to 2020, with output falling from 5,740 MT to 5,700 MT. Like many other countries on this list, cobalt produced in Australia is a by-product of copper and nickel mining. The country’s nickel mines are located in the western part of the country, mostly around the Kalgoorlie and Leonora regions.

As the DRC becomes increasingly challenging for miners and investors try to divert their interests away from Africa, Australia is another country that’s receiving more attention.

4. Philippines

Mine production: 4,700 MT

The Philippines is the fourth largest cobalt producer in the world. The country’s cobalt production slipped from 5,100 MT in 2019 to 4,700 MT in 2020. The Asian country is also a top nickel producer.

The fate of mining in the Philippines was up in the air for awhile as President Rodrigo Duterte and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu continued to call for a shut off of all mines in the country. For the past few years, Duterte has fiercely opposed the mining industry, as he believes the environmental damage far outweighs any benefits to the economy. And yet, he seemed to have a change of heart in early 2021, lifting a ban on new mine permits in an effort to boost revenues.

5. Cuba

Mine production: 3,600 MT

Cuban cobalt production fell in 2020 to 3,600 MT, down from at 3,800 MT in the year prior. The country’s Moa region is home to a joint venture nickel-cobalt operation held by Canadian firm Sherritt International (TSX:S,OTC Pink:SHERF) and General Nickel Company of Cuba.

Moa uses an open-pit mining system to mine lateritic ore, which is processed into mixed sulfides containing nickel and cobalt using high-pressure acid leaching. Cubaniquel, the country’s state-owned nickel miner, is the sole operator of the Che Guevara processing plant at Moa.

6. Canada

Mine production: 3,200 MT

Canada was the sixth largest cobalt producer in the world in 2020, moving up from its eight place position in 2019. As with Australia, Canadian cobalt comes mostly from large nickel and copper mines that produce cobalt as a by-product of their normal operations. Some of these major nickel and copper deposits are Kidds Creek, Sudbury and Raglan.

In the last couple of years, a number of junior miners have rushed to Cobalt, Ontario, to stake land. The site is located near the Quebec border and is known for producing large quantities of silver in the past. Now hopes are high that the area could be a cobalt hot spot. It’s still early days for many of these companies, but if they are successful it’s possible Canada’s cobalt production will rise.

7. Papua New Guinea

Mine production: 2,800 MT

Papua New Guinea has made the list of top cobalt production by country for the third year in a row. In 2020, the small country off the coast of Australia produced 2,800 MT of cobalt as a by-product of nickel production. The country’s main cobalt producer is the Ramu nickel mine near Madang, a joint venture between private company MCC Ramu NiCo (85 percent), Highlands Pacific (ASX:HIG) (8.56 percent) and the Papua New Guinea government (6.44 percent).

In May 2018, Highlands signed a deal to increase its ownership of Ramu to 11.3 percent and reached a C$145 million streaming agreement with Cobalt 27 Capital. In January 2019, Cobalt 27 announced a friendly acquisition of the Australian miner, and in October of that year Cobalt 27 transferred the Ramu stake to Conic Metals (TSXV:NKL), a new company, via an arrangement with Pala Investments.

8. China

Mine production: 2,300 MT

China leads the world in refined cobalt production at 70 percent of total global supply. The material it uses comes mostly from the DRC, as the country ranks eighth in terms of unrefined cobalt production.

The Asian nation is also the top consumer of cobalt, with the vast majority going to the country’s rechargeable battery industry.

9. Morocco

Mine production: 1,900 MT

Morocco’s cobalt production fell from 2,300 MT in 2019 to 1,900 MT in 2020. Cobalt from Moroccan mines got a lot of attention after major carmaker BMW (OTC Pink:BYMOF,ETR:BMW) announced it will buy cobalt directly from mines in Australia and Morocco to ensure that its supply of battery raw materials is sourced responsibly.

10. South Africa

Mine production: 1,800 MT

South Africa’s cobalt production decreased from 2,100 MT in 2019 to 1,800 MT in 2020. In South Africa, cobalt is mined as a by-product of copper and nickel. One of the operations that produces the battery metal is the Nkomati mine, a joint venture between Russia’s Norilsk Nickel and African Rainbow Minerals (OTC Pink:AFBOF,JSE:ARI).

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Highlights: Detailed engineering and procurement at Jervois’s 100%-owned Idaho Cobalt Operations in Idaho, United States are substantially advanced with commitments for approximately 75% of all equipment and material required for construction. Mine development has advanced to over 136 feet on the west portal and 100 feet on the east portal, critical progress required to establish underground mining infrastructure. ...

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TheNewswire - 15 November 2021 - Jervois Global Limited advises that Chief Executive Officer Mr. Bryce Crocker and Chief Financial Officer Mr. James May will participate in the UBS Australasia Conference on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 and the Precious Metals Summit Europe to be held virtually on Monday, 15 November and Tuesday, 16 November 2021. The Precious Metals Summit Europe will include a Company presentation to ...

(TheNewswire)

Jervois Global Limited

TheNewswire - 15 November 2021 - Jervois Global Limited (" Jervois " or the " Company ") (ASX:JRV) (TSXV:JRV) (OTC:JRVMF) advises that Chief Executive Officer Mr. Bryce Crocker and Chief Financial Officer Mr. James May will participate in the UBS Australasia Conference on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 and the Precious Metals Summit Europe to be held virtually on Monday, 15 November and Tuesday, 16 November 2021.

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NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES

Sherritt International Corporation ("Sherritt") (TSX:S), a world leader in the mining and hydrometallurgical refining of nickel and cobalt from lateritic ores, announced that Dr. Peter Hancock, a mining industry executive with more than 30 years of experience overseeing nickel mining operations, developing and commercializing process technologies, and ramping up nickel projects, has been appointed to Sherritt's Board of Directors effective today.

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Catch up and get informed with this week's content highlights from Charlotte McLeod, our editorial director.

Top Stories This Week: Powell Gets Fed Nomination, Using Gold in a Market Correction youtu.be

We're back after a break last week with quite a bit to cover in the gold space.

After running up past the US$1,860 per ounce mark midway through November, the yellow metal has taken a tumble. At the time of this writing on Friday (November 26) afternoon, it was sitting just under US$1,790.

Gold's losses this week have been attributed to elements like a stronger US dollar and better Treasury yields, although Jerome Powell's US Federal Reserve chair renomination has pulled other factors into play — some market watchers believe he may move to taper and raise interest rates faster than anticipated.


If the Fed follows its previously laid out timeline for tapering, it will wrap up in mid-2022; the central bank has said it won't raise rates until after that. It has also emphasized that its roadmap may change if necessary.

Looking at the larger picture for gold, I heard recently from Nick Barisheff of BMG Group, who believes the stock market is due for a major correction.

"The market is due for a major correction. What will cause it and when it will happen is anybody's guess — it could be tomorrow, it could be six months from now" — Nick Barisheff, BMG Group

It's impossible to know when this correction will happen, but Nick emphasized the importance of acting before it's too late. He pointed out that investors are typically slow to get out of the market once a crash actually begins — they wait for a turnaround, and by the time it's clear there won't be one, they've experienced big losses.

In his opinion, the solution is to get out of the stock market early and transfer money into gold.

Here's how Nick explained it:

"Instead of taking your money off the table and going into cash … you go to gold (because cash is devaluing daily). Gold will at least hold its own and probably appreciate … so by sitting it out in gold you can wait until the market finishes correcting and then buy back in" — Nick Barisheff, BMG Group

With gold's future in mind, we asked our Twitter followers this week what price they think the metal will be at the end of 2021. By the time the poll closed, most respondents had voted for the US$1,800 to US$1,900 range.

We'll be asking another question on Twitter next week, so make sure to follow us @INN_Resource or follow me @Charlotte_McL to share your thoughts.

Finally, in the cannabis space, INN's Bryan Mc Govern spoke with Dan Ahrens of AdvisorShares to get his thoughts on 2021 trends and what's ahead in 2022.

Dan was candid, and said if he had to choose one word to describe the cannabis market in 2021, it would be "painful." Like many others, he's been disappointed in the industry's performance — while positivity initially ran high due to excitement about potential federal changes in the US, ultimately progress has been slow.

"Cannabis started with a big run-up in January and February ... and things dragged from there" — Dan Ahrens, AdvisorShares

Still, Dan has hope for 2022 and said it will be a "huge year" for cannabis. He believes US reforms will come sooner rather than later, and in his opinion those widely anticipated changes will bring a wave of M&A activity.

Specifically, he expects to see alcohol, tobacco and other consumer packaged goods companies making deals with cannabis players, not just cannabis entities doing transactions with each other.

"Those big alcohol companies, tobacco companies, other consumer packaged goods product companies — they're waiting. They're waiting on the US" — Dan Ahrens, AdvisorShares

Want more YouTube content? Check out our YouTube playlist At Home With INN, which features interviews with experts in the resource space. If there's someone you'd like to see us interview, please send an email to cmcleod@investingnews.com.

And don't forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

cannabis plant layered with German flag graphic
Dmytro Tyshchenko / Shutterstock

Catch up on some of the biggest news of the week for the cannabis investment world.

Three political parties have formed a coalition in Germany, leading to a new government, and it has promised cannabis reform in the European nation.

Meanwhile, a popular cannabis retailer confirmed consumers will now find its products available for delivery on the Uber Eats mobile application in Ontario.

Keep reading to find out more cannabis highlights from the past five days.


Coalition of parties promises forward-looking cannabis policy

Germany, a country with comprehensive and elaborate medicinal rules for cannabis, is in a time of transition as a new government is set to begin to take over after 16 years of Angela Merkel.

Olaf Scholz, the proposed next chancellor of Germany, leads a three party coalition that will become the country's governing body. As part of its promises, talk of adult-use cannabis regulation has now gained even more momentum. A report from MJBizDaily quotes a German policy document that shows the coalition's stance:

"We are introducing the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for consumption purposes in licensed shops. This controls the quality, prevents the transfer of contaminated substances and guarantees the protection of minors."

However, despite the promise and excitement, it remains to be seen how these ideas will be applied since no formal regulations have been drafted or approved yet.

Canadian cannabis retailer partners with popular delivery app

Tokyo Smoke, a cannabis retail operator in Canada owned by Canopy Growth (NASDAQ:CGC,TSX:WEED), announced a collaboration agreement with Uber Canada (NYSE:UBER) whereby cannabis consumers will be able to use the Uber Eats app to order products before they visit stores.

While the app won't let consumers get cannabis delivered to them, this new method opens the doors to more dynamic ways of buying cannabis.

"As a market leader in innovation and a platform used by so many Canadians, we believe this is the ideal next offering that can be done safely and conveniently on the Uber Eats app," Mark Hillard, vice president of operations with Tokyo Smoke, said in a press release.

A report from the Canadian Press indicates Ontario is considering allowing dispensaries to have delivery and pickup options made available to consumers permanently. The province allowed some of these purchasing options at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but then removed them.

Lola Kassim, general manager of Uber Eats Canada, said this new end-to-end experience will provide consumers with responsible access to legal cannabis products.

Cannabis company news

  • Organigram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI,TSX:OGI) issued financial results for its Q4 2021 period. In its report, the company notes a net loss of C$26 million despite a 22 percent uptick in net revenue to C$24.9 million. Beena Goldenberg, the newly appointed CEO of the firm, is encouraged by the market share position earned by the company, which said it became the fourth biggest producer in Canada during the reporting period.
  • Halo Collective (NEO:HALO,OTCQB:HCANF) confirmed the decision for Akanda, its spinoff company focused on international cannabis opportunities, to begin trading on a US exchange. "The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined," the company told investors in a press release.
  • High Tide (NASDAQ:HITI,TSXV:HITI) announced the acquisition of 80 percent of NuLeaf Naturals, a CBD product wellness developer, for an estimated US$31.24 million. The deal includes a three year option clause for High Tide to complete a total acquisition. "As international markets open up and as export regulations evolve, NuLeaf's cGMP-certified facility positions us to take advantage of the global CBD business opportunity," Raj Grover, president and CEO of High Tide, said.
  • Humble & Fume (CSE:HMBL,OTC Pink:HUMBF) released the financial report for its first 2022 fiscal quarter to shareholders and the market. "As the legal cannabis market in North America continues to mature, Humble remains agile and focused on providing a leading solution for brands to scale quickly and retailers to focus on their customers," Joel Toguri, CEO of Humble, said.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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