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China's cobalt salts production rises

10 May 2018 16:30 (+01:00 GMT)
China's cobalt salts production rises

Shanghai, 10 May (Argus) — Chinese cobalt salts output has increased on rising demand from the battery sector, China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association Cobalt Branch chief analyst Xu Aidong said.

Cobalt salt production accounted for 81pc of China's cobalt output last year, up from 68pc in 2011, Xu told delegates at the 2018 New Energy Materials Summit in Wuxi, Jiangsu province.

Domestic refined cobalt production rose by 10pc year on year to 67,000t in 2017, including 12pc of electrolytic metal, 7pc of powder and 81pc of salts, compared with 20pc, 12pc and 68pc respectively in 2011.

China produced 51,000t of cobalt tetroxide and 50,000t of lithium cobalt oxide last year, up by 11.90pc and 8.09pc year on year, respectively, driven by buoyant demand from producers of nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) lithium-ion ternary material. Domestic NCM production surged by 101pc year on year to 105,000t in 2017.

Spot cobalt tetroxide prices were assessed at 490-510 yuan/kg on 8 May, up from Yn121-127/kg in July 2016. Lithium cobalt oxide prices increased to Yn480-500/kg on May 8, from Yn169-171/kg in October 2015.

Large domestic producers, including China Molybdenum, Huayou Cobalt and Zijin Mining, have increased investment in cobalt mines outside China, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Global cobalt output is expected to rise this year, including increased output from Glencore's Katanga and Huayou Cobalt's MIKAS and PE527.