The battery manufacturing market is booming thanks to renewable energies, and cobalt is one of the main materials in its production. This is the gold of the 21st century, and Spain could become the largest European producer of it.
Spain is considered the most mineralized zone in the EU, as it has numerous mineral resources such as copper, zinc, iron, nickel, gold and vanadium. Now also, the Spanish territory can become the main producer of cobalt, one of the most demanded metals in the world and that could be the future of Spain, that is, what we could call the gold of the 21st century.
According to Primary Energy Metals, a Canadian company that specializes in cobalt, nickel, copper and vanadium, Spain is well positioned to provide the material needed to build the batteries of the future.
The Spanish territory is considered the most mineralized zone of the European Union, and the geological diversity it has makes it one of the most important volcanic sulfide systems in the world. In addition, Spain is a country that arouses much interest in foreign investment due to its defense of mining, its stable political situation and its favorable fiscal structure.
“In Europe more and more countries are setting deadlines for the sale of fossil fuel vehicles, taking into account the targets agreed for the year 2030 in the EU. Thus, the battery industry is becoming a strong market in the old continent.”
Currently, cobalt is extracted mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a territory that faces various conflicts, but which are those that export cobalt to China, where it is processed and exported.
A recent report from the Joint Research Center of the European Commission shows that the demand for cobalt will be higher than the annual production by 2025, therefore the EU needs cobalt production in the member states, in order to use its own resources.
Thus, the majority of coal mines will be closed this year and 250 million euros will go to other sectors of the country for other materials, especially towards clean energy projects.
Europe is already becoming one of the most upward markets in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries. Tesla Motors may be installed in the Netherlands or Germany, and China’s largest lithium battery manufacturer, Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL), may install a factory in Germany to provide batteries for BMW electric cars.
In Spain there are four battery factories and in the next few years a few more will be installed; In addition, more investment is being made in vanadium redox flow storage for wind, solar and other clean energy.
Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) are capable of storing enormous amounts of energy, can be recharged thousands of times and do not lose capacity. Thus, according to Roskill, the demand for vanadium can increase by 2025 to 31,000 tons, that is, an increase of 3100% compared to 2015.
Cobalt extracted as a byproduct of copper and nickel ores is very important for cathode chemistry in lithium ion batteries, such as those in electric cars. A novel study reveals that the Iberian pyrite belt makes the Spanish territory rich in resources, especially metals of great importance for a green energy future.
Spain is one of the main producers of copper in the EU, and has some of the best infrastructure in the world, and the government supports the mining sector, which is why according to the Fraser Institute’s mining survey of 2017, Spain is one of the destinations most quoted for mining investment in Europe.
“We have found that both the Spanish and the Canadian governments are working diligently to promote Canadian investment in the mining industry in Spain, which is untapped. An example of this collaboration is the partnership between ICEX and Canadian mining companies, “explained Primary Energy Metals CEO Patrick Morris, a company that already has two cobalt, copper, nickel and manganese projects in southern Spain, as well as as two properties of vanadium in the center of the peninsula.