Cobalt is used in lithium batteries, and can power everything from smartphones to electric cars, and the production of cobalt is set to soar in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Due to the low operating costs in the DRC and strong projects in the pipeline, will see production increase sharply according to a new study. Analysts at BMI Research, a division of Fitch Group, estimate the country’s cobalt output will increase from 66.2 thousand tonnes (kt) expected for this year, to 78.9 kt by 2020, growing at an annual average of 4.6%.
Congo is the world’s largest cobalt producer. Last year, it accounted for just over half of the overall output of the mineral, which is often mined as a by-product of copper. However, the country’s cobalt is not always produced in optimal conditions and, in fact, the country ranks fourth in the world for having modern-day slaves working mainly in its mining industry.