Canada’s Cruz Cobalt (TSX-V:CUZ) plans to go all in at its projects in North America in 2018, particularly at its three British Columbia-based properties, as the junior miner bets on the growing demand for ethically sourced cobalt, a key ingredient in the batteries used in electric vehicles.
“We plan to be active on all of our Canadian and US cobalt projects in 2018,” the company’s president James Nelson, said Monday, adding the company is ready to kick off an airborne work program at its BC assets.
Cruz noted the company is “very optimistic” about the year ahead as it now has with more cash in the bank than at any other time, and cobalt prices are at nine-year highs.
The metal, which together with lithium rode the feverish buzz around electric vehicles (EVs) and growing concerns about future supply availability, became the best performing commodity of 2017 (up almost 130% in the year).
The Vancouver-based firm currently has nine cobalt projects located throughout North America: four in Ontario, three in B.C., one in Idaho and one in Montana.
Cruz Cobalt is just one of the many Canadian miners currently ramping up operations to mine cobalt, including Vale SA (which has a producing mine in Sudbury, Ontario), Sherritt International Corp., and smaller firms such as Royal Nickel Corp., First Cobalt Corp. and Fortune Minerals Ltd.
Over half of the world’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where artisanal miners mine some of it by hand. That’s likely to come under greater scrutiny this year, experts including consultancy CRU say, as more of the metal is expected to enter electric vehicle supply chains.
Currently, Canada is the world’s No. 3 cobalt producer, after the DRC and China, accounting for about 6% of the world’s supply, data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows.