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Global cobalt mine production breaks record in 2022 as new projects emerge - report

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - Global cobalt mine production increased by 15% y-o-y to190,000 tonnes in 2022. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was the world’s largest cobalt producer in 2022, responsible for about 68% of the global mined cobalt supplies.

According to preliminary estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), global cobalt mine production in 2022 was record high at about 190,000 tonnes, which is a 15% increase from 2021 (165,000 tonnes).

USGS said that the increase in global cobalt mine output in 2022 was mainly due to the expansion of production in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in Indonesia, where new mining and processing projects were starting production.

Global cobalt mine production, 2010-2022, tonnes. Source: USGS. Preliminary data for 2022.

With 130,000 tonnes of cobalt produced in 2022, the Democratic Republic of the Congo was the world’s largest source of mined cobalt, accounting for about 68% of the global cobalt mine production. DRC was followed by Indonesia (10,000 tonnes) and Russia (8,900 tonnes).

USGS added that with the exception of some production in the United States, production in Morocco, and artisanally mined cobalt in DRC, most cobalt is mined as a by-product of copper or nickel.

Largest cobalt mine producing countries, tonnes. Source: USGS. 2022 - preliminary estimates.

According to the report, China was the world’s leading producer of refined cobalt in 2022, most of which was produced from partially refined cobalt imported from DRC.

China is also the world’s leading consumer of cobalt, with about 80% of its consumption used by the rechargeable battery industry.

Global nickel production up 21% in 2022 as Indonesian output jumps 54%

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