The Importance and Economic Value of Cobalt
As the importance of the metal industry in our daily life increases, the need for some metals becomes even more important. Cobalt is one of these metals. It takes part in the production of super alloys, surfacing, high speed steels and many other materials. Beyond all these areas of use, cobalt is more widely known for its key role in the production of lithium-ion batteries. In addition, it is thought that cobalt is a mineral whose importance will increase day by day in the light of current and future technological developments.
The main reason for the key role of cobalt in the battery sector is the elimination of the problems in batteries produced with other metals. For example, the short life time and wear problem of nickel-metal hybrid batteries have been solved by the addition of cobalt to these batteries. More than half of the battery fires have been resolved with cobalt. It is predicted that the use of a metal with such a positive impact will increase with the increasing need for rechargeable batteries of mobile phones, electric vehicles and other electronic devices.
As can be seen in the figure below, the use of cobalt in batteries is increasing.
The key to the increase is the return to electric vehicles using lithium-ion batteries containing a high percentage of cobalt and the increase in production. When all these materials produced become unusable, they constitute a serious secondary resource. Recovery of cobalt from end-of-life batteries and waste is of great importance.
Cobalt prices have also increased due to increased demand and being a critical metal. Although there are sudden fluctuations in annual price changes per ton, it is a metal with economic value. It should be recycled because it has critical reserves and high demand.