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Battery And EVs Material Cobalt
Dec 29, 2017

The potential of"green" metals and minerals, which along with copper and cobalt include nickel, lithium and graphite, is adding to renewed excitement about

investing in mining firms as they emerge from the wreckage of a $ 1trn splurge of over -investment during the china-led commodities supercycle,

Even as they promise capital discipline,howeve,demand for green metals and minerals is tempting them to spend.

Last year BHP declared that 2017 could be the year"when the electric-car revolution really gets started". A recent surge in the prices of battery.

ingredients, such as copper, cobalt and lithium, has added to the excitement, China, the world's biggest manufacturer of EVs, is gobbling up suppliers,

In November China Molybdenum, which is listed in Shanghai, became the majority owner of Tenke Fungurume, a vast copper and cobalt mine in the

BHP, which has looked closely at EV-related demand, estimates that an average battery -powered EV will contain 80 kilograms of copper,

the battery and the wiring harness, If forecasts that b 2035 there would be 140m EVs on the road(8% of the gobal fleet),

versus 1m today.

Manufacturing them could require at least 8.5m tonnes a year of additional copper, or about a third extra on top of today's global copper demand.

According to Sanford C.Bernstein, which uses a bold estimate that almost all new cars will be electric by 2035, global copper supplies would need to double to meet demand by then.

Finding and digging up all the metals that stand to benefit, plus new smelting and refining capacity, could require up to &1trn in new investment by mining companies,it says.

Hunter Hillcoat of investec, a bank, says the transition could require the addition of a copper mine the size of Chile's Esconida, the world's biggest, every day.

Therein lies the rub, By one estimate, it takes at least 30 years to go from finding copper deposits to producing the metal from them at scale.

Some of the big ones in operation today were discovered in the 1920s.Because of declining ore grades,community resistance, lack of water and other factors, copper supply will be 

overtaken by demand in the next year of two. But prices would have to rise considerably to spur the necessary investment in mines.

Sharply higher prices for copper could, however, spur the search for alternative battery and EV materials such as aluminium ,When prices of nickel, an additive in stainless steel, soared a decade ago,

stainless-steel manufacturers found ways to make products less nickel -dependent.

Another difficulty in supplying a future electric-vehicle revolution is the often in hospitable location of some of the most promising minerals.

Cobalt, for instance, is a by-products of copper and nickel. Total volumes are about 100,000 tonnes, and about 70% lies in the DRC.

Unregulated artisannal miners produce a lot of it, which has led to worries about "conflict cobalt"

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