Cobalt is recognised by the EU as being a critical metal and is seen as a technology-enabling metal due to its unique properties. Metals like cobalt, nickel and copper have transformed the world and have allowed us to create and develop new materials and advance technology. Raw materials such as cobalt and nickel are seen as essential for maintaining and improving the quality of the life on a global scale and creating a sustainable planet.
Cobalt Institute – promoting the sustainable and responsible use of cobalt in all forms
We use cobalt and nickel in many everyday technologies such as mobile phones, cars, farm machinery and infrastructure. Some of the most important applications are batteries, catalysts and magnets – technology which is critical in reducing greenhouse gases and building sustainable energy sources.
Scandinavia is pioneering the renewable energy sector and has pledged to be reliant on renewable sources by 2030 and carbon free by 2045. To achieve these targets, there must be a sufficient supply of cobalt and nickel to build the modern technologies required. At present we face a shortage in critical metals such as cobalt.
At present 55% of the global supply of cobalt originates from the politically unstable Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Cobalt mines in the DRC often have poor working conditions and frequently use child labour. The poor safety measures and bad conditions of the cobalt mines result in mine workers being seriously injured or killed on a daily basis.
Most of the cobalt mined in the DRC is used in modern technologies by countries like Sweden. This is leading companies and governments to track the supply chain, and where possible use ethically sourced cobalt.
Sweden is one of the few countries that has the geological potential to produce cobalt, this means that it could provide a stable and ethical supply of this critical metal for building the vital technologies required for a sustainable planet.