Cobalt mining has most certainly created a buzz in the last few years. With the popularity of electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries, cobalt is now in high demand. In 2011 cobalt consumption was about 75,000 tonnes globally; now it is expected to be greater than 122,000 tonnes this year. Cobalt prices continue to increase and consumption is projected to rise between 8 and 10% a year. Cobalt supply used to depend on copper and nickel as it was mined and extracted with them as a co-deposit, but now demand is too high to continue this trend. Currently 300 companies around the globe are now specifically digging for cobalt, but there is an emerging trend of digging outside of the cobalt-rich DRC. Although the top five mining groups in the world have sites in the DRC (Glencore, China Molybdenum, Fleurette Group, Vale, and Gecamines), many companies are looking to get their cobalt from outside of this region for political, ethical, and economic reasons. Cobalt mines are popping up all over Canada and the US. Some notable Canadian companies mining for cobalt are: Giga Metals Corp. operating in B.C.; Power Americas Minerals Corp., Castle Silver Resources Inc., and Cobalt Power Group operating in Ontario; ePower operating in Idaho. Missouri Cobalt is producing cobalt from an old lead mine in Madison County, Missouri, which contains 35 million pounds of recoverable cobalt, the largest reserve in North America. Some analysts predict cobalt shortages as early as 2022, and with figures like these, Canadian and US miners continue to dig for cobalt, hoping to hit the jackpot on home soil.
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