Looking at the reports as we have had from some of the dated reports on some of the most common lithium battery processors, cobalt sulphate in particular, we see that there has been a surge in the prices by some significant percentages over the recent past. As have as well been followed by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, the prices for cobalt sulphate have been on the rise over the past years. One of the reasons that has been seen to explain this is the fact that there has as well been an increase in the demand for the lithium ion battery on the industrial sector. It is in the Chinese market that we have seen such a significant increase in the prices of the cobalt sulphate with the prices averaging way over $13000 for every tonne of the material. The reasons given for the increase of the prices, there are a number of these reasons. Take a look at some of the reasons that have basically served to explain the stickiness of the prices of cobalt sulphate as a processor material for the making of lithium based ion batteries.
First and foremost, one of the reasons is the fact that there has been a steady increase in the demand for the Lithium ion battery cathode. The lithium ion battery manufacturers and their demand for this is the number one reason explaining this surge in the prices. Going by statistical reports and records, the world market and demand for the cobalt sulphate, the largest share of the demand is taken by the lithium ion battery manufacturers. And as well going by the forecasts and projections that have been released by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, this demand from this sector is even seen to be ever in the increase, or upward trend. By far and large, this is one issue that has been on their list of items and subjects of discussion in their past conferences.
One other reason that has been tendered to explain this trend and rise in the demand for this product has been that of the refining capacity that has been in a way limited by environmental restrictions. A number of the refiners in China have been quite a lot scrutiny and environmental checks from the Chinese authorities. Looking at the requirements, these have seen a number introduced such as the installation of measures to ensure that the effects and emissions from the process of manufacture do not endanger the environment. As a matter of fact, all these necessary installations will come with costs that the manufacturers will have passed over to the consumers in the all-too tight economy.
The other reason that has been seen for the upward pressing of the prices of the cobalt sulphate as a processor material for lithium batteries is the fact of the end of lower cost cobalt in the supply chain.