By Pekka Vanttinen
(EurActiv) — Australian-Finnish mining company Latitude 66 Cobalt announced on Wednesday that it has found the fourth-largest cobalt deposit in Europe, with the highest cobalt density in the EU, in the eastern part of Lapland in Finland.
The new discovery strengthens the position of Scandinavia as a raw material producer. Out of the twenty largest cobalt deposits in Europe, fourteen are situated in Finland, five in Sweden, and one in Spain. Finland is the biggest producer of battery metals and chemicals in Europe.
Cobalt is a vital ingredient in mobile phones, computers, and is used even for guitar strings. The demand is growing exponentially, especially due to batteries used in electric cars, which contain 36 kilos of nickel, seven kilos of lithium, and 12 kilos of cobalt. According to EU Commission estimates, the battery market in Europe this decade will be worth about €250 billion.
Currently, most batteries are produced in Asia. The Commission has encouraged European battery production and there are plenty of on-going ventures. Likewise, the EU has emphasised the use of raw materials produced in a sustainable way, a strategy that Latitude 66 Cobalt markets itself on.
“We have had opportunities to invest in the African mining industry. That’s something we haven’t been willing to do. For example, I don’t believe big car manufacturers are in no way content with the current situation,” said company board member Russell Delroy in a statement.