Asian Battery Makers Eye Canadian Cobalt Supply Deals

The Globe and Mail reported on March 20, 2018 that nervous Asian battery makers are turning to early-stage cobalt projects in Australia and Canada to lock in supplies of the critical battery ingredient ahead of expected shortages as demand for electric vehicles revs up. A Reuters dispatch to The Globe reports that mine developers say interest from Japanese and Korean firms is particularly strong as they compete with rivals from China. Australia's Cobalt Blue Holdings chief executive officer Joe Kaderavek says: "We are starting to see the first signs of an arms race to secure long-term cobalt supplies. With over 85 per cent of new global cobalt supply over the next decade coming from Africa, in a region where the Chinese have entrenched relationships, the Korean and Japanese cobalt processing industries are very focused upon Australian and Canadian projects." At least half a dozen Australian and Canadian mine developers are currently in talks on potential supply deals with battery and automakers for production at some point beyond late 2019-2021. These include Australia's Aeon Metals, Northern Cobalt and Cobalt Blue, and British Columbia’s eCobalt Solutions and Ontario’s Fortune Minerals.

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