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“Blue Gold” discovered in large quantities in Brazil, an essential resource for the development of new technologies attracts global investors

Written by Valdemar Medeiros
Published 17/05/2024 às 20:01
“Blue Gold” discovered in large quantities in Brazil, an essential resource for the development of new technologies that can unlock the economy
“Blue Gold” discovered in large quantities in Brazil – Photo: Divulgação/Otempo

New technologies may emerge in several sectors with the exploration of cobalt. Understand the importance of “blue gold” and how Brazil stands out in this market.

Known as "blue gold", Or cobalt plays an essential role in the modern world. Since the creation of new T until the transition to clean energies. Cobalt is inside lithium batteries, and is a key element in them. Furthermore, it is also used to make airbags, diamond tools, paints, high-speed steel, magnets and much more. There are several applications, both commercial, industrial and military.

Search for cobalt grows rapidly

The search for cobalt has grown intensely in recent years. According to statistics, demand, which was 71 thousand tons in 2017, is expected to reach 222 thousand tons by 2025, mainly with the growing popularity of electric vehicles and the global transition to “cleaner” energy sources.

A European Union intends to end the sale of new vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel by 2035. That means more eletric cars, that is, demand for more cobalt to advance technologies. Demand for cobalt globally in the electric vehicle market increased by 60% in 2022 alone. Cobalt is strategic for the future of low-carbon economies.

This whole situation wouldn't be a problem if the “blue gold” mining process wasn't so controversial, due to problems associated with pollution, work similar to slavery and exploitation of minors. And there is still an irremediable problem: demand is growing, but the resource is finite.

Although the world still has significant amounts of known oil reserves, These reserves are continually discovered, explored and refined to meet global energy demand. And in this problem with cobalt, Brazil can help, as it has large reserves.

Companies plan to invest in Brazil to explore cobalt

Recently, Brazil has stood out as an important player in the global cobalt market. Geological studies have revealed the presence of large deposits of 'blue gold' in several regions of the country. And these discoveries are transforming us into an alternative source of the metal, giving a little hope to those who worry about such limited reserves that could impact technologies.

In 2023, the US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment, José Fernandez, announced that the country intends to invest in some sectors in Brazil, including the extraction of critical minerals, such as cobalt. According to Fernandez, expanding metal exploration here is one of the objectives of the mining administration. Joe Biden, since 80% of it is concentrated in autocracies, such as China. 

China is a concern for the United States when it comes to cobalt as well. The dominant position that the Asian country has established in the supply of this mineral ends up leaving several countries at its mercy, which could pose a major threat to the competitiveness of American industry.

In Brazil, China already has two electric car manufacturers installed, BYD and Great Wall Motors. However, the United States is not wasting any time, and TechMet is one of the Brazilian companies that has already received American money.

The company, which is located in the interior of Piauí, received a contribution of 25 million dollars from the American government agency development finance corporation, in 2020, for the exploration of nickel and cobalt, which can generate new technologies. 

Understand how Brazil can contribute to the 'blue gold' race'

According to Secretary José Fernandez, Brazil has large reserves of critical minerals, it just lacks the capital for exploration. He also stated that the United States is ready to encourage Brazilian companies that work responsibly, respecting labor rights and the environment.

In 2023, the British company Brazilian Nickel announced an investment plan of 6 billion dollars for the development of a nickel and cobalt project in Piauí.

Today the company has a unit in another region of the state, where it produces 600 tons of nickel per month. But the idea is that the new facility will produce 25 thousand tons of nickel per year, starting in 2026, and 800 tons of cobalt per year, starting in 2027.

Australian Jervois Global also plans to invest in Brazil. The company's efforts are aimed at reopening an existing refinery, located in São Miguel Paulista, in São Paulo. The idea is that, initially, the refinery will produce 10 thousand metric tons of nickel and two thousand of blue gold per year. In other words, Brazil has great potential to help meet the demand for cobalt in the coming years.

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Valdemar Medeiros

Journalist in training, specialist in creating content with a focus on SEO actions. Writes about the Automotive Industry, Renewable Energy and Science and Technology

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