Consulting analysts in tomorrow’s commodities and technologies

Cobalt Market Reports

Cobalt has recently seen rapidly accelerating demand for use in battery electric vehicles (albeit from a low base). Changes to China’s electric vehicle subsidy rules forced a shift to more cobalt-based batteries for increased energy capacity and, consequently, a scramble to secure stocks by battery manufacturers and OEMs.

Powertrain Metals Quarterly

Bringing together SFA (Oxford)’s expertise in the cobalt and lithium markets, this quarterly price risk report is designed to aid investors and industry stakeholders to monitor and contextualise market impacting events. The rapidly evolving nature of government policy, electric vehicle (EV) roll-out plans, the battery industry value chain, and cobalt and lithium market players, requires detailed analysis and interpretation to provide the reader with information on the most up-to-date risks to metal markets and pricing.

Price Radar Report

Find out more about SFA (Oxford)'s cobalt and lithium Price Radar Report.

Who should read this Price Radar Report?

  • All industry stakeholders and new business entrants who need to keep abreast of the evolving influences on the cobalt and lithium markets and prices, including automotive and industrial end-users, battery industry players, mining companies and juniors, as well as recyclers.
  • Investors and financial institutions needing to understand and quantify the risks and opportunities in the industry, future costs of production and short- to medium-term prices.

Market outlook for cobalt and lithium

Released four times a year on a subscription basis, the Powertrain Metals Quarterly report will keep you abreast of rapidly evolving developments in the cobalt and lithium markets, providing you with a competitive edge.

The content of each market report will vary according to cobalt and lithium industry events and market developments, but will be tailored to incorporate an individual client’s specific strategic requirements. Typically, the reports will include:

  • SFA (Oxford)’s three-year price forecast for cobalt metal, lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.
  • The impact of powertrain technology trends, specifically EV forecast risks including: global powertrain evolution and electrification, automaker announcements and implications for commodities, EU CO2 targets and opportunities for EVs, hybrid technology developments, China’s policies and the new energy vehicle (NEV) market, and US market risks.
  • Cobalt market: demand developments, battery cathode chemistries, substitution risks, supply and supply risks, politics and mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), global reserves and projects, and trade to China.
  • Lithium market: price developments, battery-grade demand, battery cathode chemistries, carbonate vs. hydroxide, battery factory developments and industry players, supply response, reserves and resources, supply vs. demand, and supply risks from hard rock and brine operations.
  • Producer economics of cobalt, primary lithium (LCE) and lithium hydroxide supply, including factors influencing cost inflation and exchange rate and volume impacts.
  • Macroeconomic developments on supply-demand fundamentals and technology (global, US, EU and China).
  • Comments on the political and socio-economic risks impacting on primary supply in politically sensitive producing regions.
  • Detailed market balances: cobalt, lithium, lithium hydroxide.
  • Supporting data on cobalt and lithium: cobalt supply by region and from probable and possible projects, cobalt demand by end-use, cobalt EV demand by region, lithium supply by region, producer and operation, battery-grade lithium hydroxide by operation, lithium and lithium hydroxide supply from probable and possible projects, lithium demand by end-use, lithium EV demand by region and battery-grade lithium hydroxide demand by region.

Conference call

Each report is supported by a conference call with SFA (Oxford)'s team of analysts, which will take place shortly after you receive the report. At that time, our team of analysts can answer any questions you may have about the powertrain metals outlook for the cobalt, lithium and lithium hydroxide markets.

The Cobalt Market Report

SFA (Oxford)'s involvement in the cobalt industry goes back over ten years, having assisted mining companies, battery cathode manufacturers and investors in evaluating mine projects, the market and prices. Our work has even taken us to the Katanga Province in the DRC to evaluate one of the richest cobalt deposits in the world. 

This new 175-page ground-breaking study examines, on a deep dive basis, the changing nature of the cobalt market and metal prices out to 2040 from the likely effects of automotive and battery technological advances.

The 2040 Cobalt Market Outlook Report

Find out more about our latest 2040 Cobalt Market Outlook Report.

Future potential cobalt supply

Cobalt mining

Cobalt is primarily mined as a by-product from the extraction of copper and nickel ores. Copper ores are the major source of cobalt, mainly from the DRC, Russia and Zambia, with primary cobalt mines making up a very small percentage. Further downstream, China has the world's largest cobalt refining capacity.

SFA (Oxford)'s evaluation of copper-cobalt mines in the DRC gives us a unique understanding of the potential outlook for cobalt supply going forward. Currently, the country provides almost two-thirds of global mine output and with Glencore's Katanga mine coming back on line, the country is set to become even more critical to future supplies of cobalt.

Our Cobalt Market Report details future potential cobalt supply by mine, country and major company and includes the distribution of reserves and resources worldwide. An overview of supply and processing methods is also provided along with reviews of copper and nickel mines.

Cobalt operations and projects in the DRC are examined in detail, highlighting the potential supply constraints and sociological challenges related to artisanal supply and political risks.

The report also evaluates the trade flow of cobalt concentrates worldwide and gives an assessment of China's position in the global supply chain.

Additionally, a review of highly probable and possible projects, including grade and volume analysis, is provided.

The need for and current status of cobalt recycling is also discussed. The rapid rise in prices and concerns over future mine supplies of cobalt have led to a greater focus on its recycling and our report delves into the current status of the cobalt recycling industry, its major players and market developments.

Electric vehicles: Cobalt market implications

Electric vehicle charging

This report from SFA (Oxford) contains a full review of cobalt use in lithium-ion batteries, including the growing popularity of NMC (and NCA) battery chemistries. A quantification of the substitution by nickel going forward against the increasing uptake of electric cars and the fall-out for the cobalt market is provided.

The report offers upside and downside electric vehicle uptake scenarios to illustrate the potential envelope of supply-demand, and therefore price possibilities in future.

SFA (Oxford)'s long-term research into the platinum-group metals requires us to undertake ongoing detailed modelling of the risks associated with powertrain evolution. Therefore, the cobalt market report also includes reviews of loadings of cobalt by vehicle model and powertrain type, including the use of NiMH batteries in hybrid vehicles.

Other end-uses, including battery types (NiCd and NiMH) are presented and quantified, along with a review of superalloy cobalt requirements and other industrial applications.

Our report concludes with a range of supply-demand outlooks and price forecasts to highlight where potential pinch points for the market might occur in future, including supply risks, electric vehicle scenarios, substitution and recycling potential.

Who should read this report

  • End-users and fabricators in need of an independent supply, demand and pricing picture of the cobalt market and its evolving applications and the fall-out from electric vehicle uptake.
  • Producers and fabricators requiring an independent review of end-use evolution, including opportunities, threats and substitutes, as well as an understanding of price risks.
  • Investors seeking an independent view on the outlook for the cobalt market and prices.