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 February 28, 2014
Cobalt prices hit two-year highs
    Publisher: Metal Bulletin
    Author: Fleur Ritzema


Cobalt prices hit two-year highs

Low-grade cobalt prices hit more than two-year highs today, on strong demand for batteries at a time of low producer supplies.

Low-grade cobalt prices hit $14.10-15.25 per lb on Friday February 28, after stabilising on Wednesday February 26 at $14-14.90 per lb.

This was the highest low-grade low since February 22, 2012.

High-grade prices reached $14.30-15.50 per lb on Friday, up from $14.15-15.20 per lb on Wednesday.

Prices have been supported by tight producer supplies, particularly for broken cathodes and briquettes.

The broken cathode premium moved above the cut cathode premium this week. Strong broken cathode sales were reported in parts of Asia and the USA, while cut cathode business was reported lower in China.

Metal Bulletin's weekly broken cathode premium over the London Metal Exchange was $824.21 per tonne ($0.37 per lb) on Friday.

The cut cathode premium was $616.30 per tonne ($0.28 per lb).

Ingots were trading at a $278.04 per tonne premium ($0.13 per lb) to the London Metal Exchange price this week.

"One reason it's moved up is tightness, particularly on broken cathodes. Kasese will soon be out [of the market]. Tocantins has production issues, CTT isn't often traded on spot. And the Chambishi pipeline, which had been a regular supplier to the spot market, is tight," a trader said.

But some sellers remain keen to take profits after the recent rally, and Asian sellers in particular were actively looking to sell this week.

While all business reported on Friday was in the mid- to high-$14s and above, offers were reported as low as $14 per lb.

And while most saw prices remaining firm, one buyer was able to purchase at lower prices later on in the week than at the start of the week.

"We've actually seen prices soften somewhat this week by $0.05," the buyer, who had purchased in the middle of the Metal Bulletin range, commented.

In sharp contrast to the Metal Bulletin prices, LME prices moved lower on Friday.

The official cash cobalt price was $31,200/31,210 ($14.15/14.16 per lb) on Friday, down from $31,300/31,800 ($14.20/14.43 per lb) a day earlier.

See Metal Bulletin's cobalt trade log for details of all deals reported.

Fleur Ritzema
Twitter: FleurRitzema_MB

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 February 27, 2014
Panasonic, suppliers may invest $1 billion in Tesla's U.S. battery plant: Nikkei
    Publisher: Reuters
    Author: (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Paul Simao)


Reuters - Feb 25, 2014

Panasonic, suppliers may invest $1 billion in Tesla's U.S. battery plant: Nikkei

Panasonic Corp (6752.T) is inviting a number of Japanese materials suppliers to join it in investing in a U.S. car battery plant that it plans to build with Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O), with investment expected to reach more than 100 billion yen ($979 million), the Nikkei reported.

Tesla shares also hit an all-time high on Tuesday after one brokerage firm set a new target price that suggested shares would rise almost 50 percent from Monday's closing price.

The plant, expected to go on-stream in 2017, will bolster Panasonic's supply of lithium-ion batteries to the U.S. electric-car maker.

Last week, Tesla shed some light on its plans for building a lithium-ion battery plant, or "giga factory," that will cut battery costs and allow the company to launch a more affordable electric car in 2017. However, it said at the time that further details would be announced this week.

Read the full article here: Reuters - Panasonic, suppliers may invest $1 billion in Tesla's U.S. battery plant: Nikkei

 February 26, 2014
Tesla Tops $30 Billion Market Cap as Morgan Stanley Boosts Outlook
    Publisher: Bloomberg News
    Author: Alan Ohnsman


Bloomberg News - Feb 25, 2014

Tesla Tops $30 Billion as Morgan Stanley Boosts Outlook

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), the electric-car maker, exceeded $30 billion in market valuation after Morgan Stanley more than doubled its projected price for the stock, saying the company may disrupt the auto and energy industries.

The shares advanced 14 percent to $248 at the close in New York, following the analyst note that projected a 12-month price target of $320 and after Tesla's Model S sedan became the first U.S. car to receive Consumer Reports' "best overall pick" in the magazine's annual ranking. While the stock gave back some earlier gains it's up sevenfold in the past year and the company's market cap is now $30.4 billion, more than half that of General Motors Co.'s.

Read the full article here: Bloomberg News - Tesla Tops $30 Billion as Morgan Stanley Boosts Outlook

 February 25, 2014
Analysts Forecast the Global Cobalt Market to Grow at a CAGR of 6.05% to 2018
    Publisher: Research and Markets

Analysts Forecast the Global Cobalt Market to Grow at a CAGR of 6.05% to 2018

So far the story of Tesla Motors has been about exciting electric luxury cars and an even higher performing stock.

The analysts forecast the Global Cobalt market to grow at a CAGR of 6.05 percent over the period 2013-2018. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increased demand for cobalt from the Battery Chemicals industry. The Global Cobalt market has also been witnessing the supply constraints of cobalt leading to high prices. However, the cobalt supply challenges could pose a challenge to the growth of this market.

The report, the Global Cobalt Market 2014-2018, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the APAC and EMEA regions, and the Americas; it also covers the Global Cobalt market landscape and its growth prospects in the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market.

Key vendors dominating this space are Glencore Xstrata plc, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., Open Joint Stock Company Mining and Metallurgical Company Norilsk Nickel, Sherritt International Corp., and Umicore S.A.

Other vendors mentioned in the report are BHP Billiton plc, Chambishi Metals plc, Formation Metals Inc., and Vale S.A.

Read the original article here: - Analysts Forecast the Global Cobalt Market to Grow at a CAGR of 6.05% to 2018

 February 22, 2014
Tesla's future rides on a massive battery plant
    Publisher: CNN Money
    Author: Chris Isidore - February 22, 2014

Tesla's future rides on a massive battery plant

So far the story of Tesla Motors has been about exciting electric luxury cars and an even higher performing stock.

Next week it will reveal plans for a much less sexy innovation that is more important to the company's future than either of those things: A huge new lithium battery factory dubbed the "Gigafactory" by Tesla founder Elon Musk. The plant is the key Tesla needs in order to produce an "affordable" long-range electric car in substantial enough numbers to join the ranks of the major automakers.

Read the full article here: CNNMoney - Tesla's Future Rides on a Massive Battery Plant

 February 14, 2014
Cobalt prices strengthen on healthy aerospace, battery demand
    Publisher: Metal Bulletin


Cobalt prices strengthen on healthy aerospace, battery demand

Cobalt prices continued to climb this week on strengthening demand for alloys and batteries.

Low-grade cobalt prices reached $13.75-14.75 per lb on Friday February 14, up from $13.55-14.55 per lb on Wednesday February 12. High-grade cobalt prices hit $14-15 per lb, up from $13.95-14.90 per lb. The official London Metal Exchange cash cobalt price also climbed in the second half of the week, to reach...

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 February 12, 2014
Cobalt Market May See More Changes in 2014
    Publisher: Roskill Information Services

 PR Newswire

LONDON, February 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/

With 2013 behind us, the cobalt market will reflect on a year that saw minimal price movement despite a number of significant developments. New production capacity coming on stream in the Madagascar and the Philippines, Freeport Cobalt's acquisition of the Kokkola refinery, and a proposed ban on concentrate exports from the DRC and subsequent increase in export taxes did little to profoundly impact market prices which, despite modest increases over the summer months, ended the year at a similar level to which they started it.

What will 2014 and beyond hold?

What should we expect to happen in the DRC in 2014?

Given its position as the world's largest mine producer, developments in the DRC have the potential to significantly impact the market in 2014. The DRC government is known to want to increase domestic refining of copper and cobalt products and decrease exports of unrefined materials. The proposed export ban on concentrates did not come to fruition in 2013, but government rhetoric suggests that such measures could still go ahead in 2015.

Whilst a blanket ban remains unlikely, the 2013 increase in export tax, from US$60/t to US$100/t, could be the first in a number of changes. Gécamines, the state-owned producer, is in the process of conducting a review of its partnerships to determine whether its interests are being preserved. This review, together with the expected introduction of a new mining code which could see an increase in royalty and tax rates, could have profound implications for foreign companies operating in the country.

Reports that ENRC may be forced to sell its DRC assets might also have the potential to change the complexion of the DRC production landscape. If the reports are accurate, will an existing producer, or a new player, acquire ENRC's assets?

What else lies in store, and where will new supply come from?

There are a number of potential mine projects that could produce additional cobalt raw materials over the next few years. However, the vast majority are at a very early stage of exploration or development and it is likely that very few new operations will come on-stream before 2018. Additional cobalt mine supply is most likely to come from expansion projects at existing producers such as those underway at Tenke Fungurume Mining in the DRC and African Rainbow Minerals in South Africa, and those being considered at Mirabela Nickel in Brazil, Moa Bay in Cuba, and Meta Nikel Cobalt in Turkey.

Another potential source of cobalt is from the numerous nickel producing operations that extract cobalt materials but do not recover them, such as those operations in the Philippines and New Caledonia which produce nickel materials for nickel pig iron (NPI) production in China. Similarly, Altona Mining in Finland produces a low-grade cobalt-nickel concentrate, which is currently stored, pending a treatment solution. These operations might look to produce cobalt if it was economical to do so. 

Which sectors and regions will drive growth in demand?

Global consumption of cobalt has increased at a CAGR of 5.5% between 2008 and 2013. Roskill expects future demand to grow at a similar rate, expected to be 6.1%py to 2018. As a result, cobalt demand will reach over 110,000t.

Growth in demand for cobalt will be led by Asia, particularly China, South Korea and Japan. Growth in demand in these countries will be driven by increasing battery cathode production. Demand for cobalt in battery applications is forecast to grow at 9.2%py to 2018 and will continue to be the greatest contributor to increased demand. Demand for cobalt in catalysts is also expected to grow at a high rate (8.3%py), underpinned by high growth in demand for PET and in the oil and gas sector.

What changes to prices may be expected, if any?

Roskill expects the cobalt market to remain in a state of oversupply until 2016 when supply and demand are expected to be broadly in balance. However, it will take several years for the recent period of oversupply and resultant stockpiling to be reconciled, which is likely to keep prices in check over the medium term.

Roskill expects prices to continue on a slight downward trend in 2014 with the ramping up of new projects in Madagascar and the Philippines brining additional material into the market and compounding the current oversupply situation. Thereafter, Roskill expects a modest year-on-year increase in prices with high grade cobalt real prices increasing at roughly 3.6%py to 2018.

Will we see more of a shift to LME pricing?

The LME's introduction of cobalt and molybdenum futures contracts in 2010 brought about an alternative to trade journal sourced pricing and introduced the option of regulated exchange pricing information. Uptake in switching to this new platform has been slow. However, in 2013 it was announced that Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold would use LME pricing data for some US$200 million worth of annual cobalt sales. Freeport said it will turn to LME-based pricing for cobalt and cobalt hydroxide supply contracts from January 2014.

It is unclear if other producers, traders or end users will choose to adopt LME-based pricing and it is commonly held that the trading volume will need to increase before more producers switch to LME pricing. It was reported in the Financial Times that ENRC planned to introduce an element of LME pricing into its contracts from 2014 when it will be selling its cobalt using a weighted average of the LME and Metal Bulletin prices. It is likely that if major producers such as Freeport and ENRC switch to LME pricing, then other smaller producers may follow suit.

Roskill's new Cobalt: Market Outlook to 2018 contains full estimates for 2013, profiles on major producers and projects, an assessment of key market trends, an overview of developments in the DRC, and an outlook for supply, demand and prices to 2018. This latest edition is available, until the 28th February, at an introductory price of £4680 / US$7470 / €5580 from Roskill Information Services Ltd, 54 Russell Road, London SW19 1QL ENGLAND. Tel: +44-20-8417-0087 , Email: Web:

Note to editors

Roskill Information Services Ltd. of London, UK is a leading provider of multi-client and bespoke market research services to the minerals and metals industry.

The new Cobalt report contains 327 pages, 156 tables and 121 figures plus an appendix of international trade statistics. It provides a detailed review of the industry, with subsections on the activities of the leading producing companies. It also analyses consumption, trade and prices.

For further information on this report, please contact Robert Baylis, or +44-20-8417-0087.

SOURCE Roskill Information Services
 January 09, 2014
DRC Delays Copper, Cobalt Export Ban Once Again
    Publisher: Cobalt Investing News
    Author: Charlotte McLeod


DRC Delays Copper, Cobalt Export Ban Once Again

As 2013 drew to a close, the big news in the cobalt sector was that the start date of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) ban on the export of copper and cobalt concentrate had been moved to December 31, 2014. It was supposed to come into effect on January 1.

"The export of copper and cobalt concentrates is banned," Metal Bulletin quotes a notice signed by mines minister Martin Kabwelulu as saying, "however, a moratorium until December 31, 2014 is granted to all mining operators producing copper and cobalt to comply."

The delay is a response to ongoing electricity constraints in the DRC, information that will likely be unsurprising to cobalt market participants. Since the ban's announcement, skeptics have argued that the country simply does not have enough electricity to run the refining and processing equipment that the ban's implementation calls for.

Indeed, the current delay marks the second time that the ban has been delayed. It was originally scheduled to begin in July 2013, but as that start deadline loomed, the country instead decided to increase the tax on cobalt concentrate exports by $40 per metric ton (MT). That put duties at $100 per MT on July 15.

No tax increase has been announced this time. Prices for the metal also do not seem to have been affected yet.

Brazil steps up

In what Metal-Pages is calling an "unprecedented request," Brazil's Companhia de Pesquisa de Recursos Minerais (CPRM) has submitted a plan to explore for minerals "on the seabed in a three thousand metre squared area of the South Atlantic Ocean." The area is "said to contain a crust rich in manganese, cobalt and iron ore."

The application was submitted on December 31 to the Jamaica-based International Seabed Authority (ISA), which states on its website that "the applicant has elected to offer an equity interest in a joint venture arrangement with the enterprise in lieu of a reserved area," as per Metal-Pages.

Expanding further on the proposal, BNamericas notes that Brazil has said it will invest US$11 million during the first five years of exploration; in total, exploration would last 15 years. CPRM's application is to be assessed on February 3, at the ISA's next commission meeting.

Price update

December was a fairly quiet month for cobalt prices. Metal-Pages reported on December 3 that the western cobalt industry had seen little impact from a late November power transformer blowout at Eurasian Natural Resources' (LSE:ENRC) Zambia-based Chambishi operation. Cobalt 99.6-percent material was up just 10 cents, to $11.60 to $12.60 per pound, while the 99.3-percent and 99.8-percent grades were steady, trading at $11.25 to $12 per pound and $11.75 to $12.75 per pound, respectively.

Over in China, the story was a little different. Metal-Pages said on December 18 that the Chinese cobalt market had "rebounded after falling for three months" due to both the incident at Chambishi, as well as an ore price increase expected next year from major miner Glencore Xstrata (LSE:GLEN). Chambishi 99.8-percent material sat at $14.36 to $14.65 per pound, up from $14.06 to $14.43.

Most recently, Metal-Pages reported a London Metal Exchange settlement cobalt cash price of $29,000 to $30,000 per tonne on January 7. The previous range was $26,200 to $26,700 per tonne.

Company news

Midway through December, Glencore Xstrata paid $430 million in cash to acquire the remaining 14.5-percent indirect equity interest in Mutanda Mining from High Grade Minerals, as per Mining Weekly. Glencore Xstrata now holds a 69-percent indirect interest in the company, while the rest is owned by a subsidiary of Fleurette, which, the news outlet explains, is "owned by Line Trust Corporation on behalf of the Ashdale Settlement, a trust established in 2006 for the benefit of the family of Dan Gertler."

Mutanda, a copper and cobalt producer operating in the DRC, is "seen as one of Glencore's key growth assets in Central Africa's copper belt," Mining Weekly notes. Metal-Pages states that in 2012 it produced 87,000 tonnes of copper and 8,500 tonnes of cobalt.

Junior company news

Releasing a slew of news throughout December was strategic metals company Global Cobalt (TSXV:GCO), whose focus is on Russia's Republic of Altai.

Perhaps most notably, the company reported on December 19 the completion of the 2013 drill program at its Karakul project. Though all assay results are currently pending, Erin Chutter, Global Cobalt's president and CEO, commented that they "confirm the mineralization delineated by historic operators" and "should ultimately increase the confidence in the historic resource estimates as we prepare an NI 43-101- compliant Resource Report in the coming months."

On a different note, the company announced a C$2 million non-brokered private placement financing on December 16. Initially, Global Cobalt planned to issue up to 10,000,000 units at a price of $0.20 each; however, the day after the financing was announced, Global Cobalt revealed that it had been oversubscribed and increased the size of the offering to up to 11,250,000 units. That will allow the company to raise $2.25 million.

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 January 07, 2014
Brazil Ready to spend $11 Million on Cobalt seabed Exploration
    Publisher: Cobalt Investing News


Brazil Ready to Spend $11 Million on Cobalt Seabed Exploration

BNamericas reported that Brazil's national geological service (CPRM) has submitted a plan to explore "a cobalt-rich ferromanganese crust in international waters" to the International Seabed Authority, located in Jamaica.

As quoted in the market news:

"Brazil has agreed to invest US$11mn in the first five years of exploration, which would last 15 years, CPRM's geology and mineral resources director Roberto Ventura was quoted as saying by paper O Globo.

The region has potential for the exploitation of cobalt, manganese and iron, according to Ventura.

"The application area is in the Rio Grande Rise and the applicant has elected to offer an equity interest in a JV arrangement with the enterprise in lieu of a reserved area,' ISA said, adding that CPRM's application is sponsored by the federal government of Brazil."

Please click here to read the full BNamericas report

 October 24, 2013
Will Cobalt Rise Above $16 per Pound in Q4?
    Publisher: Cobalt Investing News
    Author: Charlotte Mcleod


Will Cobalt Rise Above $16 per Pound in Q4?

The cobalt market has been quiet this month. Since putting on a strong performance in September, prices for the metal have flattened out, largely due to slow market conditions. However, some believe that cobalt may yet rises as high as $16.85 per pound before the end of 2013.

In a report released at the beginning of October, Metal Pages Research states that it views the "fundamentals of the market as positive particularly in relation to the other specialty alloys markets."

Specifically, the news outlet identifies three factors that are supporting the cobalt market. Those are:

1. Positive fundamentals: In terms of supply, global refined cobalt output fell by 6.1 percent in 2012, to 77,189 tonnes; since then, "there has not been a supply response from cobalt producers," meaning that the market is now in a "slight deficit position." On the demand side, the metal's "diverse end user base" is working in its favor.

2.Demand picking up: Metal-Pages Research anticipates demand from that diverse base of end users growing as 2013 draws to a close, noting that "activity is beginning to rebound in a number of markets outside of China," where demand is currently fairly weak.

3.Continued deficit: Cobalt's current "slight deficit" is expected to persist into next year, likely reaching a high point at the beginning of 2014, before "new laterite output is fully up and running."

Metal-Pages Research believes that given those factors, cobalt has already hit its lowest price for this year ($10.85 per pound on January 3), and may rise as high as $16.85 per pound this quarter --- an exciting prospect for those who have been watching the metal languish below $14 per pound for most of the year.

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