Cobalt Recovery from Waste Rocks: JOGMEC Enters into Joint Research with Australia
-A Step Toward the Diversification of Cobalt Supply Sources for a Carbon-Neutral Society-
JOGMEC has agreed with the Department of Resources of the State of Queensland and the University of Queensland to conduct joint research on the technology to recover cobalt from waste rock of copper mines in Queensland on October 25.
Through this joint research, we aim to promote the effective utilization of unrecovered cobalt resources in Queensland and other parts of the world, and to contribute to the stable supply of minor metals indispensable for the realization of a carbon-neutral society.
Commemorative photo at the virtual signing ceremony
Cobalt is a minor metal that is essential for the realization of a carbon-neutral society, as it is used in batteries for electric vehicles, etc. However, there are concerns about its stable supply since its production is unevenly distributed in some countries and regions.
JOGMEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a comprehensive and strategic partnership with Queensland, Australia in September 2013, and has been building a cooperative relationship. Australia has the world's second largest cobalt reserves, but its production is not large. Some copper ores mined in Australia contain significant cobalt that is lost to waste rock during processing.
Under these circumstances, the Queensland Geological Survey conducted a survey of cobalt resources in waste rock from copper mines, and the results were shared with JOGMEC. As a result of discussions with the State Government, JOGMEC has agreed to conduct a joint research project with the State Government and the University of Queensland on cobalt recovery technology from waste rock of copper mines. The period of the joint research is planned to be from October 2021 to June 2024.
Should this project yield notable results, it would be expected to contribute as new source of cobalt from the state. Additionaly this would ensure potential for transferable production technology that could be applied to other countries and regions.
JOGMEC has established a basic policy and specific action plan for the realization of a carbon-neutral society under the "JOGMEC Carbon Neutral Initiative," and this joint research constitutes a part of the action plan.
Target Area：the area where cobalt is expected to be recovered.
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Metals Technology Division, Metals Development Department
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