Cobalt is a relatively scarce ferromagnetic metal, mainly used in high-performance super alloys and in the glass and ceramic industries, providing a distinctive blue color. However, its importance today lies in its use for the manufacture of battery electrodes for electric cars, which has increased its demand and price considerably, reaching today a value of US$ 33,000 per tonne, after a historic peak in 2018, at around US$ 90,000 per tonne.
Cobalt is mainly extracted from copper and nickel mines, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo being the main producer. But the political instability of that country, coupled with the growing demand (as shown in Fig. 2) has led to the search for this metal in other countries, presenting itself as a great opportunity for other copper-producing countries, such as Chile, Peru, Australia and Canada.
At Aminpro we are currently conducting various flotation tests of copper-cobalt minerals from pyrite-rich Scavenger tailings, both at laboratory- and pilot-scale. After experimenting with several operating conditions, we will move on to a stage of operating optimization, which will then be complemented by simulations of different flotation circuits, to finally validate them in the pilot plant.
If you need more information about our work with Cobalt, contact us!