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China: Cobalt Demand Chinese Car Companies Seek to Secure Cobalt Supplies

| Editor: Alexander Stark

Chinese car and battery makers are keen to secure supplies of cobalt for the expected boom in e-vehicle production. Cobalt 27 Capital, owner of the world’s largest private stockpile of cobalt, said it is in talks for potential tie-ups with major Chinese companies.

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Cobalt is a key metal in batteries powering electric vehicles.
Cobalt is a key metal in batteries powering electric vehicles.
(Source: Bloomberg Finance LP)

Toronto/Canada (Bloomberg) — Car and battery makers from China have approached Cobalt 27 to discuss long-term partnerships and supply contracts, Anthony Milewski, chief executive officer of the Canadian firm, said in an interview in Beijing on Monday. Milewski said he has at least 17 such meetings lined up in major Chinese cities over the next three days.

Milewski declined to identify the companies but said that China was going to be the world leader of electric vehicles.

China is pushing the development of low- or zero-emission cars, with a target to sell seven million new-energy vehicles a year by 2025. Sales of battery-powered, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles in China — which surpassed the US in 2015 to become the biggest electric-car market — could jump by more than a fifth to surpass one million this year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimates.

EVs will probably account for 30 % to 35 % of the worldwide vehicle market by 2025, surpassing current projections as China outpaces other countries, Milewski said. That will push annual cobalt demand to at least 250,000 metric tons by then from the current 100,000 metric tons, he said.

Cobalt availability is likely to remain scarce with major consumers and traders hunting for the metal, whether in the form of long-term supply deals or for stockpiling, Citigroup analysts said in a research note on Monday. Cobalt 27 has been persistently raising funds to buy and store more physical cobalt, placing upward pressure on prices, Citigroup said.

Cobalt prices have spiked ahead of an expected demand boom form EVs.
Cobalt prices have spiked ahead of an expected demand boom form EVs.
(Source: Bloomberg)

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