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The case for cobalt: Why America should pay attention to this critical metal

In an interview with The Critical Metals Report, analyst Rick Mills shares his thoughts on how cobalt is the “king of critical metals.”

Increasingly indispensable as an industrial metal, in the development of green technologies, and in various critical defense applications, cobalt is one of only four metals or element groups to make all three recently published lists of critical metals: the U.S. Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Strategy list, the American Physical Society’s Panel on Public Affairs & Materials Research Society’s list of Energy Critical Elements, and the European Commission’s Critical Raw Materials list. (The other metals or element groups are rare earth elements (REEs), platinum group elements (PGEs), and lithium.)

According to the USGS Mineral Commodity Summaries, the U.S. is home to significant cobalt deposits, but our import dependency rate for this element stands at 81 percent.

While the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), hardly a reliable trading partner and target of recent U.S. conflict minerals legislation, is the world’s largest supplier, the U.S. is dependent on – you guessed it – China, which has tied up a majority of the world’s cobalt through agreements with the DRC, for much of our own supply of cobalt.

We at the American Resources Policy Network continue to argue that “America’s looming resource deficit” stretches beyond the often-talked-about REEs. In fact, we just the other day looked at manganese in that specific context.  Cobalt is yet another case in point.