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 multitudinous and the element has had significance in industrial uses, the hi-tech industry, medical roles, environmental operations and strategic purposes. With the recent strong support from manufacturers and consumers for hybrid electric vehicles, the use of cobalt in the rechargeable sector alone has led to a formidable demand for the element
Demand in this essential resource has changed in recent years with the growing movement towards "going green" as evidenced in its principal application in rechargeable batteries. Demand in other sectors such as aerospace, wind generation and solar technology has also increased the necessity of cobalt.
Cobalt, like many commodities is also a "Ch-India Story," with the majority of demand being due to the massive growth seen in infrastructure and technology. The exponential growth in emerging markets such as China and India are considerable especially when taking into account that these nations are only now manifesting as consumers. This new mentality to buy cars, phones, computers etc. will certainly be momentous driver in the metal commodities and especially cobalt. Driving the cobalt momentum is the global movement to switch from fossil fuels and to invest in the future by using renewable energy sources and "green" technology including Hybrid Electric Vehicles. The growing need for personal transportation, by way of electric vehicles, is also creating the necessity for emerging nations to build appropriate infrastructure in which cobalt is an essential element used in the hardening of steel. The Chinese government has come to the realization that to keep their economy moving forward that an efficient transportation system is required across the country's 9.326 billion sq. km. land mass - this means improving and developing massive networks of highways, doubling rail tracks so that goods and passengers can be transported without conflict, and enhancing the capacity of the 16 major shipping ports. All of this will require the use of Cobalt!
Cobalt is widely scattered in the Earth's crust and is found in potentially exploitable quantities in several countries, 17 of which currently produce. Cobalt is only extracted alone from the Moroccan and Canadian Arsenide ores. Approximately 48% of the world's 2007 cobalt mined was a byproduct of nickel from sulfide and laterite deposits. An additional 37% was produced as a byproduct of copper operations, mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia. The remaining 15% of cobalt mining came from primary producers. Puget Ventures is poised to be Canada's only near term primary cobalt producer.
A rough split of cobalt production would currently be:
Nickel Industry 48%
Copper Industry and Other 37%
Primary Cobalt Operations 15%
Puget Ventures has strategically positioned itself in the forefront of the Cobalt industry to supply the growing demand in the near future.
- BNN Conversation with Erin Chutter, President of Puget Ventures
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