Europe’s Renewable Energy and EV Future Needs Homegrown Cobalt Supply

Date: Dec 28, 2018

Home to one of the region’s leading mining industries, Spain is well-positioned to supply energyand battery metals for Europe’s renewable energy and EV future.

Spain’s government is taking steps to decarbonize its economic future with the closing of most of the country’s major coal mines and an ambitious plan to source 100 percent of its energy needs from renewable technologies by 2050. By no means an outsider, Spain’s actions are a part of a larger movement toward a green economy sweeping across the European Union.

Europe, in many ways, is leading the world in the adoption of renewable energy, stationary battery storage and electric vehicles (EVs). The EU has decreed that 20 percent of energy should come from renewable sources by 2020 and 32 percent by 2030. In addition, many of the 28 member states are looking to ban the sale of fossil-fuel vehicles. Europe’s nations are supporting the establishment of large-scale domestic EV battery manufacturing capabilities to meet mandated carbon emissions cuts and transform mobility and transport for a new energy future.

This transformation will require substantial amounts of energy metals such as cobalt, which for now is mainly mined in the conflict-plagued Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and processed in China. According to a recent report by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, global cobalt demand will overtake annual production by 2025. In the face of competition from China for resources in Africa, the report’s authors suggest the EU should promote cobalt production within member states with cobalt resources, including Spain.

Spain encompasses close to 90 percent of the Iberian Peninsula, considered to be the most mineralized zone in the EU. The diversity of this geological landscape, including one of the world’s largest volcanic massive sulfide systems, has gifted the country with a wide range of important mineral resources such as cobalt, copperzincironnickelgold, and vanadium. Spain’s stable government, favorable tax structure and mining-friendly policies amongst other benefits are proving attractive to foreign investment and supporting a reawakening of the country’s mining sector.

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