Mineral Monday: What you need to know about cobalt and which ASX shares are cashing in on it

Cobalt is listed as a critical mineral by the Australian government for its importance in batteries.

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Key points

  • The Australian government lists cobalt as a critical mineral
  • Cobalt is widely used in batteries, aircraft engines, and computers
  • Three ASX shares in the cobalt space have rocketed higher this year

You'll find plenty of big-cap ASX shares involved in gold, iron ore, or coal.

But most of the ASX shares exploring for and producing cobalt are on the microcap and small-cap end of the spectrum.

We look at three of the larger companies below.

But first…

What is cobalt?

A hard, shiny, greyish metal, cobalt is a highly conductive metal. It has numerous uses, including adding colour to glass and ceramics.

But we suspect its cobalt's use in aircraft engine parts and its prevalence in lithium-ion batteries, computers and mobile phones that has seen the Australian government list the metal as a critical mineral.

The government reports that Australia has high geological potential for cobalt, with a 2020 economic demonstrated resource of 1.5 million tonnes. In 2020, Australian miners produced 5,600 tonnes of cobalt, out of a total global production of 135,000 tonnes.

Only Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which mines some 70% of total global cobalt, produced more.

With that said, which ASX shares are digging for cobalt?

Three ASX shares cashing in on cobalt

First up we have Jervois Global Ltd (ASX: JRV).

With a market cap of $1.2 billion, it's the biggest of the ASX shares with a strong focus on cobalt.

The company is on track to start production at its Idaho Cobalt Operations, the only cobalt mine in the United States. It's also a specialty cobalt chemicals producer at Jervois Finland.

And the Jervois share price has been riding high amid booming demand for battery metals, with shares up 29% year-to-date.

Next up we have Ardea Resources Ltd (ASX: ARL), with a market cap of $206 million.

Ardea Resources' Kalgoorlie Nickel Project, located in Western Australia, is the largest nickel-cobalt resource in the developed world. It's been awarded 'major project status' by the Australian government.

The company is another beneficiary of the booming demand for battery metals, helping send its share up a whopping 171% so far in 2022.

This brings us to our third ASX share focused on cobalt, the aptly named Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX: COB).

Cobalt Blue has a market cap of $253 million.

The ASX share reports that it's poised to become one of the world's largest cobalt producers on the back of its Broken Hill Cobalt Deposit, in New South Wales. According to the company website, "If Broken Hill were a country, it would rank number 5 for cobalt production".

The Cobalt Blue share price is another stellar performer this year, up 62% since the opening bell on 4 January.

You can find also find out which ASX shares are cashing in on lithium and vanadium in more of our 'Mineral Monday' series.

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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