Electra Battery Materials expects global cobalt demand to climb 30% by 2025 despite ongoing trends in the electric vehicle industry to reduce cobalt content in batteries, the company said Feb.16.
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"The evolution towards lower cobalt content in the dominant EV batteries will be more than offset by larger battery packs and growing [EV] adoption rates," CEO Trent Mell said in a statement.
Mell said Electra forecasts cobalt demand to grow more than 11,500 mt/year by 2025 compared with 2021 levels.
With growing demand prospects, the Toronto-based company is assessing opportunities to potentially build a second cobalt refinery to address projected supply shortages for EV market, Mell added.
Electra is on track to commission its first cobalt refinery in Ontario by the end of the year. The plant will initially ramp up to a production capacity of 5,000 mt/year, and permit amendments will then be pursued for an increase to 6,500 mt/year.
"Our plant will be one of two major cobalt sulfate refineries outside China, with an estimated 5% of global market share once operating at full capacity," Mell said.
After cobalt refining operations begin, Electra will pursue subsequent phases of development at the site to create an integrated "battery materials park." The concept will include nickel sulfate production, lithium-ion battery recycling and a battery precursor material manufacturing partnership.
The developing battery materials company plans to produce raw materials to supply batteries for up to 1.5 million EVs annually in North America and Europe, according to the statement.