Cobalt is a so-called transition metal, which has unique chemical and physical properties that can be utilized in the engineering of advanced materials. Today, cobalt affects many of the products and services that each of us use in our everyday lives. Freeport Cobalt Oy, located in the Kokkola Industrial Park, annually handles more than 10 percent of the world’s cobalt production, and is the leading producer of cobalt-based chemicals for industrial applications globally.
“Cobalt is used in a number of applications from hard metal tools to turbine engines. It is also used in catalysts and to give ceramics and glass the famous cobalt blue colour,” explains Jöran Sopo, Managing Director of Freeport Cobalt.
However, the largest use of cobalt today is in rechargeable lithium ion batteries. This area is expected to grow significantly because of the increasing number of electrical vehicles.
“Freeport Cobalt has a strong commitment to sustainability. Through the use of cobalt in battery production, there is now an increasing range of electric vehicle models available, for example fully electric, hybrids and plug-in hybrids. The vehicles are suitable for different climate conditions and driving ranges,” Sopo says.
As electric cars grow in number, demand for cobalt is expected to double in the next decade. This has raised concern of future availability and by the EU’s definition cobalt is categorized as a critical raw material. According to Sopo, the majority of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo and is a by-product of copper or nickel mines and can be influenced by the economics of those minerals. There is also a growing focus and concern regarding the responsible sourcing of cobalt.
“We have long recognized our responsibility and have implemented robust supply-chain policies and measures to ensure that we comply with the high standards that the industry expects. Therefore, Freeport Cobalt continues to be a significant producer and supplier of cobalt-based chemicals in response to increasing global industrial consumption.”
Turnover 2017: €600 million
Major markets: Worldwide
Parent company: Freeport-McMoRan Inc.