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We May Not Have Enough Minerals To Even Meet Electric Car Demand

Citing two reports from Reuters and Bloomberg, Jalopnik reports on the scarcity of metals necessary for electric cars. From the report: [W]hile demand for nickel keeps increasing, half the world’s nickel supply is too low in quality to use for car batteries. All of which is going to have seismic effect on the world’s suppliers. In short: There will be winners and losers, and the winners will be the ones with the highest-grade stuff — not unlike, I suppose, the illicit drugs market. “Some of the biggest producers of the higher-grade ores, including BHP Norilsk Nickel, Vale and Sumitomo Corp, are moving quickly to take advantage and seal long-term supply deals with battery producers,” reports Reuters. “Among those losing out would be lower-grade nickel mines like Cerro Matoso in Columbia, owned by South32 Ltd and Glencore’s Koniambo in New Caledonia, as well as Anglo American’s mines in Brazil producing ferronickel.”

What of cobalt? Bloomberg sent a writer and photographer to Cobalt, Ontario, about 300 miles north of Toronto, to find out. The town, which began life as a silver town, also is believed to have some cobalt, though no one’s really found much yet. The search for a new source of cobalt isn’t taking place in just Cobalt, Ontario, of course, as mining companies worldwide try to capitalize on the our electric car future. But the search is ramping up as the world’s biggest source of cobalt — the Democratic Republic of Congo, where about half of all cobalt comes from — is increasingly unstable, making car manufacturers nervous and cobalt all the more valuable.


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