Minor Metals

Cobalt White Paper


Why Global Battery Makers Will Continue to Rely on African Cobalt


Notwithstanding the recent downturn,cobalt prices have skyrocketed over the last five years. This surge has been largely in response to rising demand from the energy storage sector, in particular the fast-growing electric vehicle industry.

This demand-led price growth, coupled with the political and economic turmoil that plague many African countries, has spurred development of new cobalt projects outside of the DRC. While we believe that cobalt projects outside of the main cobalt basins certainly have their place and may indeed fill some of this demand requirement, Core Consultants sees African deposits as the mainstay for the foreseeable future.

This paper provides a technical basis and a clear economic rationale for our thesis that irrespective of the challenges facing the African Copper Belt, new supply required for the battery sector will mainly be met by African-based cobalt developments and DRC-based deposits in particular.


  1. Introduction

1.1 Unique Features of the Central African Copper Belt

  1. What is Battery Grade Cobalt?

2.1 Battery Basics-The Chemical Requirements

2.2  How to Produce Cobalt Sulphate

2.3 What Can We Conclude from This?

  1. Cobalt Deposits that Have a Unique Association with Nickel
  2. The African Copper Belt and Its Unique Association with Cobalt
  3. Concluding Remarks

6.  Appendix

List of Tables


Table 1: Known Copper Belts.

Table 2: Raw Materials Required for Batteries.

Table 3: Global EV Battery Manufacturers.

Table 4: Details of the Main Deposits in the Central African Copper Belt


List of Charts

Chart 1: Glencore commits roughly a third of its output to supply China’s battery industry.

Chart 2: Most significant cobalt refining capacity is in China.


List of Figures

Figure 1: Cobalt mined and refined production.

Figure 2: Lithium ion cell production capacity.


This paper sets out to answer the following key questions:


  1. What unique qualities are found in the African Copper Belt compared to other global cobalt deposits?
  2. How do copper-cobalt deposits compare with nickel- cobalt deposits?
  3. What are the specific requirements for battery-grade cobalt?
  4. How easily are these requirements met by cobalt found outside the African Copper Belt?


1 review for Cobalt White Paper

  1. Lara Smith

    Great read for anyone trying to understand the critical differences between cobalt in the DRC versus elsewhere. Critical reading for anyone invested in cobalt supply chain including mining companies, metal traders, cathode producer and automakers

Add a review

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.