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 March 14, 2016
Cobalt Supplies Are A Gigarisk For Battery And EV Manufacturers
    Publisher: SeekingAlpha.com
    Author: John Peterson

 
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SeekingAlpha.com - March 11, 2016

Excerpts from the Seeking Alpha Article

Cobalt Supplies Are A Gigarisk For Battery And EV Manufacturers

Summary

Cobalt is an essential raw material for all high-energy lithium-ion cells, and the battery industry currently uses 41% of global cobalt production.

Cobalt is also an essential raw material for superalloys, machine tools, catalysts, pigments and other high value products that use the other 59% of global cobalt production.

Roughly 94% of global cobalt supplies come from copper and nickel mines (principally in Africa) that produce cobalt as a minor byproduct.

The other 6% comes from "artisanal" cobalt miners that reportedly rely on slave and child labor.

Whenever highly inflexible supply chains encounter rapidly increasing demand, chronic shortages and skyrocketing prices are unavoidable.

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 11, 2016
Cobalt: the backstory of a technology metal
    Publisher: INVESTORINTEL
    Author: Robin Bromby

 
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InvestorIntel.com - March 11, 2016
Excerpts from the InvestorIntel Article

Cobalt: the backstory of a technology metal

It has certainly been cobalt's week. John Petersen has authored two imposing posts (PT 1, PT 2). Now Christopher Ecclestone has underlined the worries that should be concerning Tesla and other end-users about the possibility that the supplies of lithium and cobalt on which they are depending for their lithium-ion batteries might just not be there when they put in their orders (and he cites the fact that London Metal Exchange warehouses have just 614 tonnes of cobalt in their care).

This is a very important story for InventorIntel given that cobalt is being seen increasingly as a technology metal and a "green" one, the latter reflecting its battery applications.

There is an additional consideration: the availability of cobalt for batteries is complicated by (a) the looming shortage of the metal and (b) the competing demand for it. While projections for 2018 show that battery chemicals will require 49% of cobalt output, the metal is also needed for superalloys, hard metals, ceramics and pigments, catalysts, tyres and paint dryers, electroplating, animal feed, synthetic diamonds and other battery technologies (AlNiCo, SmCo, NdFeB).

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 10, 2016
Tesla's Supply Chain -- Triumph of Hope over Experience?
    Publisher: Investor Intel
    Author: Christopher Ecclestone

 
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InvestorIntel.com - March 7, 2016
Excerpts from the InvestorIntel Article

Tesla's Supply Chain -- Triumph of Hope over Experience?

They say that second marriages are the triumph of hope over experience but we can't help thinking the same of Tesla's "belief" that when miners said to it that they would be able to provide enough Lithium, Cobalt and Graphite for its Gigafactory it actually believed them. We can't escape the feeling that the texting acronym ROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing) was made for exactly this situation.

[NOTE: The following paragraphs are excerpts from the full article. To read the full report, Click here]

In this piece we shall follow on from the firestorm that John Peterson created in his piece last week with a specific look at how credible the chance of any of the many projects in the three metals of import actually becoming productive was over the last five years.

Cobalt

This metal has until recently been one of the least talked about in the battery supply chain probably because it has an LME quoted price and thus this has given many the illusion that it is a "major trade metal". Wrong! To put this in perspective the LME warehouses only have 614 tonnes of this metal in stock. Not exactly a base on which to build a major battery industry and still get a good night's sleep.

This brings us then to the subject of primary Cobalt mines. These are rare unicorns indeed.

Formation Metals (FCO.to) is the obvious candidate for Tesla to "take out" if Tesla starts getting serious but even then, the project would probably not fully supply Tesla's needs. Then it might need to move on to the NiCoCo project of Fortune Minerals (FT.to) to be fully self-sufficient. The others are all too early stage or too small to be realistic help in ameliorating Tesla's looming Cobalt crunch.

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 07, 2016
Add cobalt to your list of technology (and critical) metals
    Publisher: Investor Intel
    Author: Robin Bromby

 
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InvestorIntel.com - March 7, 2016
Excerpts from the InvestorIntel Article

Add cobalt to your list of technology (and critical) metals

If you're reading this and attending PDAC in Toronto, it might pay to swing by the stall operated by Formation Metals (TSX:FCO), a company that has what it claims is the "sole, near term, fully environmentally permitted, cobalt project in the United States".

That is, if you have read John Petersen's superb article on InvestorIntel looking at the three critical metals that go into the lithium-ion batteries. His conclusion: the one to worry about most, in terms of security of supply, is cobalt.

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 02, 2016
Come Visit us at the PDAC in Toronto - Booth 2416 A Session (Sunday/Monday, March 6 & 7, 2016

 

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 February 25, 2016
Obama bans US imports of slave/children-produced goods
    Publisher: Associated Press
    Author: Martha Mendoza

 
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Associated Press - February 25, 2016

Obama bans US imports of slave/children produced goods

[Formation Metals comments on the article: Could this apply to minerals such as cobalt mined by children in the DRC?]

Federal officials are preparing to enforce an 86-year-old ban on importing goods made by children or slaves under new provisions of a law signed by President Barack Obama.

"This law slams shut an unconscionable and archaic loophole that forced America to accept products made by children or slave labour," said Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who worked on the legislation.

The Tariff Act of 1930, which gave Customs and Border Protection the authority to seize shipments where forced labour was suspected and block further imports, was last used in 2000, and has been used only 39 times all together largely because of two words: "consumptive demand" --- if there was not sufficient supply to meet domestic demand, imports were allowed regardless of how they were produced.

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act signed by Obama on Wednesday eliminated that language, allowing stiffer enforcement. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske and agency leaders are planning a briefing Friday to explain how they'll be implementing the new law.

To read the full article, Click here or follow on Twitter @YahooFinanceCA

 
 February 03, 2016
Sony says no 'obvious' DRC link to cobalt in its products
    Publisher: Metal Bulletin
    Author: Location: London

 
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MetalBulletin.com - February 03, 2016
Excerpts from the MetalBulletin Article

Sony says no 'obvious' DRC link to cobalt in its products

As Metal Bulletin continues its series of articles on the report published by Amnesty International, outlining allegations of human rights abuses in the artisanal cobalt mining industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), we look at some of the responses from the major consumer brands named in the report.

Multinational technology conglomerate Sony was named in the report as being a customer of battery component manufacturer Ningbo Shanshan, which Amnesty claims can trace its cobalt supply back to Huayou Cobalt and subsidiary China Dongfang Mining International (CDM), and in turn, back to the DRC. In the report, Amnesty claims that Sony did not specify whether it had traced cobalt supplies back to the smelter and that it did not provide evidence that it had asked its smelters whether they had sourced the cobalt responsibly - "ie, identified and addressed human rights risks, such as child labour". "On its website, Sony details its due diligence policy...

Metal Bulletin is a paid subscription service. To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Metal Bulletin Membership or follow on Twitter @metalbulletin

 
 February 02, 2016
Cobalt in batteries mined by children, says report
    Publisher: CIPS.org
    Author: Andrew Allen, in Ethics, Risk, Supply Chain

 
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CIPS - - February 2, 2016

Cobalt mined by child labourers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is getting into the supply chains of major electronics brands like Apple, Samsung and Sony, according to a report by Amnesty International and Afrewatch.

The report This is what we die for: Human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo power the global trade in cobalt found children as young as seven had mined the mineral, which plays an important role in lithium-ion batteries.

The report said while many leading brands claimed to have a zero tolerance policy towards child labour in their supply chains they were unable to provide evidence of checks undertaken to prevent such abuses when it came to cobalt.

The DRC's cobalt miners face perilous conditions and often permanent lung damage, said the report.

More than half of the world's supply of cobalt comes from the DRC and around 20% of this amount comes from artisanal miners in the southern part of the country -- who often work in the poor conditions outlined in the report.

Most of the artesan-produced cobalt is sold to Chinese traders and purchased by Congo Dongfang Mining International (CDM), a subsidiary of China-based Huayou Cobalt, the report claimed.

CDM smelts the ore at its DRC plant before exporting it to China where it is further processed and sold to battery component manufacturers. These firms in turn sell to battery manufacturers, whose products are bought by well-known consumer brands.

"Artisanal miners include children as young as seven who scavenge for rocks containing cobalt in the discarded by-products of industrial mines, and who wash and sort the ore before it is sold," said the report.

The report calls for companies to carry out greater due diligence through their supply chains to ensure they are not using cobalt mined by child labourers.

It said any company that sources processed ore, and its customers along the supply chain, should be able to trace its suppliers up to the smelters, which may include companies such as CDM and Huayou Cobalt.

However, when contacted by Amnesty International, most of these brands could not provide evidence that they had undertaken research to identify smelters or tried to contact them to find out where their cobalt was sourced from.


For the link to the original article, please click here.

 
 January 28, 2016
Cobalt: Mined By Children For Use In Your Favorite Gadgets' Rechargeable Batteries
    Publisher: MintPress News
    Author: Kit O'Connell

 
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Cobalt: Mined By Children For Use In Your Favorite Gadgets' Rechargeable Batteries

The painstaking "artisanal" mining work is performed by hand using mallets and chisels in high temperatures or even pouring rain.

As quoted in Mint Press News:

KINSHASA, Congo --- In recent years, activists and independent media have brought attention to "conflict minerals," key components in technology that are often sourced from war-torn countries. And a recent report from a major human rights group sounds the alarm on a largely overlooked metal that's being mined by thousands of children and underpaid adults in Africa.

Amnesty International issued the results of its detailed investigation into the sourcing of cobalt, a rare metal that forms a crucial ingredient of lithium-based rechargeable batteries, in a Jan. 19 report. According to the authors, more than half the world's cobalt comes from Congo, including at least 20 percent which comes from so-called "artisanal miners" in the southern part of the country.

"These artisanal miners, referred to as 'creuseurs' in the DRC, mine by hand using the most basic tools to dig out rocks from tunnels deep underground," according to the report, "This Is What We Die For." "Artisanal miners include children as young as seven who scavenge for rocks containing cobalt in the discarded by-products of industrial mines, and who wash and sort the ore before it is sold."

Click here to read the full MintPressNews which includes a link to Amnesty International's full report This Is What We Die For:

 
 January 21, 2016
Votorantim Metais Plans Production Stoppage at Nickel, Cobalt Plant
    Publisher: Cobalt Investing News
    Author: Charlotte McLeod

 
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Votorantim Metais Plans Production Stoppage at Nickel, Cobalt Plant

Metal Bulletin reported that Votorantim Metais has moved forward a production stoppage at it Brazil-based nickel and cobalt plant which will take 1,400 tonnes of yearly cobalt production offline.

As quoted in the market news:

'Votorantim Metais [...] is conducting a stoppage for preventive and corrective maintenance of equipment at its units in Niquelandia (the Brazilian state of Goiás) and São Miguel Paulista (in the state of São Paulo),' a company spokesman said.

Click here to read the full Metal Bulletin report.

 
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