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Rex Johnson

Cobalt prices gone up!?

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I just made my order to Laguna Clay.

I was a little taken back when I saw that 5# of Cobalt Carbonate was quoted at $236! $47+ a pound!

Copper Carbonate seems to have gone down a bit or stayed the same at about 9-$11 a pound, but I've been tossing that into my saggars like so much cheap white flour...

I use a recipe (Pete's Black) that uses both. It could be a pretty expensive 5 gallons...

Peter's Metallic Black Gloss  ^5-^10

Color: Black  /  Surface: Gloss
Custer feldspar       78.84
Colemanite             10.69
Whiting                     5.51
EPK                          4.96
Copper carbonate    4.19
Manganese dioxide  4.19
Cobalt carbonate      2.09 

 

 

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You can blame Tesla/Every_Other_Leccy_Car_Maker.

Cobalt is used in the Nickel-Managanese-Cobalt batteries these vehicles rely on. These batteries can contain up to 20% Cobalt. For a newest model Tesla (which use less Cobalt than many comparable vehicles), that's something like 4.5 Kilos of Cobalt per vehicle. For an original Model S, it was 11 Kilos per vehicle.

I think I read somewhere that Mr Musk has claimed that Panasonic (his supplier) had made some considerable headway in reducing the Cobalt required in battery manufacture. But I think I also read somewhere that this might be overblown, and that limits have been reached.

There is pretty much only one global supply, in the Democratic Republic of Congo - and the supply chain from there is not, shall we say, a natural flow. Cobalt mining has some rather dodgy background - child labour, human rights issues, etc. But I'm aware that this is not a political board.

Anyway, that's what the recent Cobalt price-spike has been about.

 

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1 hour ago, Rex Johnson said:

I was a little taken back when I saw that 5# of Cobalt Carbonate was quoted at $236! $47+ a pound!

If you need cobalt carbonate have a look at US Pigments, 5lbs is 150- and their shipping is always reasonable.

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I would think that you could probably drop the cobalt percentage in your glaze recipe, especially with all that copper and manganese. Have you had that glaze tested for leaching? Awful lot of metal in there. I'm also wary of any glaze that says it has a really broad firing range like that. Somewhere in there it's either under-fired or over-fired.

5 pounds of cobalt will last a really long time. I'd buy less and hope the price comes down. It tends to fluctuate.

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Cobalt went up months ago as it  does in cycles . The electric car industry will drive this cycle longer and higher.

Thats why you should buy materials when they are down in large quantities. I checked my cobalt Ox supply and have just under18#s and cobalt carb is over 10#s.

Tin the same deal-buy big when cheap.

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