Renewables MMI: BHP Billiton Looks to Increase Cobalt Sulphide Production

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Chris Titze Imaging/Adobe Stock

The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped three points for an August MMI reading of 105.

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BHP Getting Into Cobalt

Miner BHP Billiton has plans to ramp up its production of a cobalt product used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, Bloomberg reported.

Per the report, the miner has had success in producing cobalt sulphate alongside its nickel product at its Western Australia operation, according to an interview with Asset President Eduard Haegel.

Questions about cobalt supply and price volatility persist, but a miner of the size of BHP looking to expand its presence in the sphere is an indicator of the metal’s importance and, thus, the level to which the EV market is coveted.

Speaking of Cobalt Prices…

The price of the coveted metal has come off a bit of late, but that might just be a short-term blip.

According to the Toronto-based Sherritt International Corp — a miner with operations in Cuba, Madagascar and Canada — the softening of cobalt prices should reverse as demand continues to pick up, particularly vis-a-vis the growing EV sector, Reuters reported.

Plate Prices

According to a report in the Hellenic Shipping News, shipbuilders in South Korea are asking steelmakers to freeze shipbuilding plate prices.

According to the report, the Korea Offshore & Shipbuilding Association is asking for the freeze because price hikes threaten their survival, as declining orders and increased competition from China have weighed on the Korean shipbuilding sector.

Thick steel plate prices jumped $44/ton in the first half of the year, according to the report.

Actual Metals Prices and Trends

Japanese steel plate fell 1.0% month over month to $715.62/mt. Korean steel plate rose 1.6% to $682.89/mt. Chinese steel plate fell 4.4% to $707.51/mt.

U.S. steel plate jumped 5.2% to $986/st.

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Chinese neodymium fell 4.0% to $60,182/mt. Chinese silicon fell 2.8% to $1,511.89/mt. Chinese cobalt cathodes fell 2.8% to $97,612.20/mt.

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