Rapidly growing demand for personal transportation across emerging nations such as China and India is creating new environmental and energy based challenges. Adopting solutions, such as the electrification of the automobile, is just one movement that will alter the course of the world's future on going "green."
Just as gas powered autos have depended on oil for the past 100 years, the world's future fleet of electric vehicles may very well depend on a strategic element mined in a primary capacity in only a handful of locations. This essential element is cobalt.
Cobalt, atomic symbol Co is a hard, lustrous, silver-grey metal that based on its unique properties has many applications. Although cobalt has been used since ancient times to impart a rich blue colour to glass, glazes and ceramics, it wasn't until 1735 that the free metallic form was prepared and discovered. Since then, the applications have been varied and the element has played a significant role in industrial uses, the hi-tech industry, medical uses, environmental operations and strategic purposes.
The growing momentum in recent years around environmental sustainability and the rise in socio-economical impact of environmental issues, have caused green initiatives to become a global focus. Cobalt holds a critical role in the future energy economy due to its use in rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, and thus in its use in Hybrid Electric Vehicles. Due to escalating gas prices and growing concerns around fossil fuels, more nations are recognizing the importance of HEV production. HEVs not only reduce air pollution but also cut back on fuel consumption by more than 50% compared to conventional vehicles. This trend has increased HEV production on a global scale with an estimated 8 million units produced by 2015, thereby increasing annual cobalt demand by nearly 22,000 tonnes/year. The HEV also offers a more environmentally friendly "plug-in" which includes an extra Cobalt-bearing battery, further increasing cobalt demand.
Although some primary Cobalt operations do exist, supply generally comes from the byproduct of Nickel and Copper production and has varying degrees of cost dynamics. A large portion of Cobalt is produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia as such a byproduct. The issue of conflict minerals has been making headlines around the world. This topic is of paramount importance to Puget Ventures as it directly relates to the supply and demand of strategic metals, including cobalt, that are sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo - the world's largest supplier of cobalt. In support of the Congo Conflict-Free Movement, many organizations and governments are introducing provisions to trace the metal supply chain and ensure the usage of conflict-free metals in typical electronic devices such as cellphones and laptops. The ultimate goal: To create a degree of transparency and accountability surrounding minerals in conflict regions.
Puget Ventures' Werner West Cobalt mine is one of the few cobalt resources aiming to be a primary cobalt operation. Werner West is located in the geo-politically stable and progressive jurisdiction of Ontario, Canada and as a near-term strategic metal producer, Puget Ventures aims to supply the growing demand of cobalt by developing a socially responsible non-African source of cobalt.
Puget Ventures has strategically positioned itself in the forefront of the Cobalt industry to supply the growing demand for this essential resource in the near future.
The London Metals Exchange announced on February 22, 2010 that the first cobalt futures contracts has been launched and commenced trading on the open market. This trading provides more security and transparency for cobalt.Tweet
- BNN Conversation with Erin Chutter, President of Puget Ventures
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