Project Blue: Cobalt the most at risk critical material of 2022

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Project Blue, provider of market intelligence on energy transition supply chains and critical materials, today released the results of its Critical Materials Risk Index 2022.

The Critical Materials Risk Index 2022 puts cobalt as the most at risk critical material globally. Cobalt scored highly in terms of supply risk as it is extracted mostly as a by-product; because mine and refined production is highly concentrated in the DRC and China respectively; and because a large proportion of supply comes from a small number of consolidated producers. Its ESG risk score was high owing to ongoing social issues in Central Africa, and its economic importance score was high due to its role in lithium-ion batteries, aerospace, and other critical applications.

Heavy rare earth elements and niobium rank second and third respectively with their positions underpinned by high supply risk scores. Other materials in the top ten are magnesium, light rare earth elements, aluminium, graphite, chromium, antimony, and vanadium.

Dr Jack Bedder, co-founder of Project Blue, commented that “…while it’s no surprise that cobalt, rare earths, and niobium top the global list, it’s important to remember that what makes a material critical is very much subjective, and depends on your position in the value chain”.

The Risk Index examines 40 critical metals and minerals against variables selected to quantify supply risk, ESG risk and economic importance. Data are normalised and weighted to produce three sub-indices which are then used to calculate a material’s overall rank.

It can be used to compare and contrast critical materials in terms of their risks, while associated free tools from Project Blue allow you to discover where critical materials are mined, refined, and recycled and in which energy transition sectors and technologies they are used.