Cobalt is a difficult metal to categorize, as some consider it to be an industrial metal, while others place it under the rare earth/strategic metals. It has a wide use across much of the industrial world. Applications of this metal include aircraft engines, drill bits, magnets, batteries, pigmentation, orthopedic implants, and even gamma rays. The majority of cobalt is used for superalloys which are resistant to both corrosion and natural wear-and-tear.
So why cobalt is valuable?
Tesla serves as a perfect case study for explaining the value of cobalt. When the Roadster debuted years ago, it smoked the performance of most other EVs produced to that point. The original Model S had impressive specs relative to the competition as well. It was all made possible by betting on the right lithium-ion battery technology for on-the-move applications (such as transportation), where energy density and weight are critical factors. Those batteries relied heavily on cobalt.
That's still true today. In fact, even Tesla's stationary energy storage devices contain cobalt. The company's EVs use NCA (nickel cobalt aluminum) chemistries, while its grid batteries use NMC (nickel manganese cobalt oxide) chemistries. Although the exact ratios of the three materials can vary, the cathode of these batteries usually contain roughly 15% cobalt. Considering the battery systems for EVs weigh hundreds of pounds, that's not an insignificant amount of material -- especially with cobalt prices hovering near $37 per pound, or $80,000 per metric ton.
As you have read... Cobalt has a bright future.
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