According to research company Technavio, the global lithium market is expected to increase at a CAGR of 8% until 2021. The lithium market is expected to grow due to the high demand for lithium-ion batteries, which have versatile capabilities. The demand for batteries also increases the demand for cobalt, which is another major element required. According to data compiled by Technavio, the global cobalt market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9% until 2020. The battery segment for cobalt uses approximately 42 percent of global production, while the remainder is used in industrial related segments.
Although the industrial segment for cobalt still controls majority of the global market, the shift to electric vehicles (EVs) will be the market driver in the future. Many countries have begun to reduce diesel powered vehicles to provide a cleaner environment. EVs currently hold a relatively small portion of the automotive market, but shifts are expected to cause a spike in demand. Caspar Rawles, analyst at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, explained, “I still believe the critical point [for the cobalt market] will be in 2020, when most of the electric vehicles are going to come to market. I don’t think there are any factors that could derail the cobalt story at this point.”
Hopefully those companies deep mining for cobalt and lithium will leave a little bit of earth so people have some road to drive those EVs on.