The cobalt market growth driven by the electric vehicle sector
Thursday, Jun 15, 2017
Demand for cobalt has increased over the course of the last year in large, thanks to demand from the global electric vehicle (EV) industry. Cobalt is a key component of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, a report by CNBC reveals that according to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) published in 2016. In 2005, electric vehicles globally could be counted in the mere hundreds, yet already by 2015 the number has swollen to 1.26 million. The adoption of EVs around the world is only expected to accelerate thanks to the supranational Electric Vehicles Initiative. This initiative is calling for an electric car fleet of 20 million by 2020. The Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change, along with Call to Action, is setting a global deployment target of 100 million electric cars and 400 million electric 2- and 3-wheelers by 2030. First Cobalt Corp. (OTC: FTSSF), Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY), Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), eCobalt Solutions Inc. (OTC: ECSIF), General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM).

Consultants CRU Group Senior Consultant, Edward Spencer explained, "In terms of overall demand, EVs (electric vehicles) only consumed around 6.5 percent of refined cobalt in 2016. This will increase to 16.9 percent in 2021 helping lift demand to nearly 130,000 tonnes. We expect a deficit in the region of 900 tonnes this year. However, a far larger deficit could open quickly if mine and refinery capacity growth fails to keep pace," Reuters reported. Analysts at Macquarie Research estimated significant cobalt deficits by the end of the decade - 3,205 tonnes in 2019 and 5,340 tonnes in 2020. "Cobalt has limited new supply projects coming through. Meanwhile refined output in key supply countries such as Australia, Russia and Zambia are well down on levels seen a decade ago," Macquarie analyst, Colin Hamilton said according to Reuters.

First Cobalt Corp. (OTCQB: FTSSF) also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol FCC. Earlier today, they announced that the commencement of a surface sampling program at its Canadian flagship project, the Keeley-Frontier mine near Cobalt, Ontario.  

The surface sampling program will improve the understanding of the controlling structures in the mineralized system and assess the extent of disseminated cobalt mineralization outside of previously mined structures. By testing for metals away from the main vein system, First Cobalt intends to determine if a cobalt-rich halo extends beyond the high-grade vein system that could be amenable to large scale bulk-mining methods.

Trent Mell, President and CEO commented, "Many Canadian gold mines built over the past two decades resulted from revisiting old high grade mines and recasting them as lower grade but higher tonnage operations. This is our vision for the Cobalt Ontario camp and our exploration program will now begin to assess the Keeley-Frontier project for bulk mining potential. Surface sampling is an effective and efficient way to test the metal dispersion around the known silver-mineralized zones. We expect assay results in a few weeks. Structural mapping of these stripped outcrops is also necessary to understand the broader region's bedrock geology and will improve our targeting for the summer drill program."

Panasonic Corporation (OTC: PCRFY) and Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) have signed an agreement that lays out their cooperation on the construction of a large-scale battery manufacturing plant in the United States, known as the Gigafactory. The Gigafactory is being created to enable a continuous reduction in the cost of long range battery packs in parallel with manufacturing at the volumes required to enable Tesla to meet its goal of advancing mass market electric vehicles. The Gigafactory will be managed by Tesla with Panasonic joining as the principle partner responsible for lithium-ion battery cells and occupying approximately half of the planned manufacturing space. According to a blog from The Tesla Team earlier this year, Tesla and Panasonic began mass production of lithium-ion battery cells, which will be used in Tesla's energy storage products and Model 3.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries and sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. Recently, the company announced that it and its joint ventures in China delivered 272,770 vehicles in April. Buick's first extended-range electric vehicle, the Velite 5, was launched in April. It has fuel consumption as low as 0.9 liter/100 kilometers. In the coming two years, Buick will also launch plug-in hybrids and pure battery electric vehicles to expand its green lineup.

eCobalt Solutions Inc. (OTCQB: ECSIF) committed to providing ethically produced, environmentally sound, battery grade cobalt salts, essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors, made safely, responsibly, and transparently in the United States. The company recently provided its shareholders with an update on the Company's Feasibility Study ('FS') for the 100% owned Idaho Cobalt Project ('ICP'). The ICP is the only near term, environmentally permitted, primary cobalt project located in the United States. The company said that significant progress on all fronts has been made on the FS over the course of the past couple of months. The project continues to advance with milestones achieved in several disciplines, notwithstanding that some engineering tasks have taken significantly longer than was originally anticipated.

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