Cobalt is one of the most rare, expensive and sought-after metals on the market. But an investment in cobalt is far from foolproof. Investors should be wary of the dangerous and violent conditions that contribute to instability in cobalt acquisition before investing.
What is cobalt and how is it used?
Cobalt is a hard, metallic element used to manufacture batteries, magnets, paints and chemical catalysts. It’s rare, valuable and in increasingly high demand thanks to the rise of electric vehicles. Over two-thirds of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other major cobalt producers include Cuba, Russia, Australia and the Philippines.
Why invest in cobalt stocks?
It’s no secret that the tide of vehicle manufacturing is shifting. Thanks to environmental movements worldwide, electric vehicles have become less of a novelty and more commonplace than ever before. And what do electric vehicles need to function? Batteries. Cobalt is an essential part of the electric vehicle manufacturing process, as it’s a key component of lithium-ion batteries. Many industry experts expect the demand for cobalt to rise in the coming years with the projected impact of electric vehicles on the automotive market.
Risks of investing in cobalt
A major risk facing cobalt investors is the location of the majority of the world’s cobalt supply: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Historically, the DRC has been marked by political instability and civil unrest. Volatile political shifts have the potential to impact supply chains and security for cobalt operators in the DRC is far from guaranteed. The process of cobalt mining is also fraught with conditions that violate human rights. As a result of the unstable and violent conditions that surround cobalt acquisition, a number of companies that rely on it, including Tesla, are actively seeking a workaround to avoid overreliance on the difficult-to-procure metal. As electric vehicles become more popular, some manufacturers are working to develop methods of electric power that reduce or eliminate the need for cobalt. That said, such a solution is still many years from mass production. Industry experts suggest electric vehicles will continue to rely on cobalt.
Most of the companies on this list don’t deal exclusively in cobalt — the mining and refining of cobalt is typically conducted in conjunction with another metal. Most cobalt stocks require an international brokerage account to trade, as few of these multinational companies trade on US exchanges. Of the following list, only Vale and Wheaton Precious Metals Corporation trade on the New York Stock Exchange. All others must be purchased over-the-counter or from international exchanges.
See how the following stocks are performing, and view details like market capitalization, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) ratio and dividend yield.
Vale S.A., together with its subsidiaries, produces and sells iron ore and iron ore pellets for use as raw materials in steelmaking in Brazil and internationally. The company operates through Iron Solutions and Energy Transition Materials segments. The Iron Solutions segment produces and extracts iron ore and pellets, manganese, and other ferrous products; and provides related logistic services. The Energy Transition Materials segment produces and extracts nickel used to produce stainless steel, electric vehicles, and metal alloys; and its by-products, such as gold, silver, cobalt, precious metals, platinum, and others, as well as copper used in the construction sector to produce pipes and electrical wires. The company was formerly known as Companhia Vale do Rio Doce and changed its name to Vale S.A. in May 2009. Vale S.A. was founded in 1942 and is headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. primarily sells precious metals in North America, Europe, and South America. It produces and sells gold, silver, palladium, and cobalt deposits. The company was formerly known as Silver Wheaton Corp. and changed its name to Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. in May 10, 2017. Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
Quest Critical Metals Inc., a minerals exploration company, engages in the exploration and evaluation of mineral properties. It has an option agreement to acquire 100% interest in the East Bull Palladium Property that comprise 992 hectares located in the Sudbury mining division, Ontario. The company was formerly known as Canadian Palladium Resources Inc. and changed its name to Quest Critical Metals Inc. in December 2023. Quest Critical Metals Inc. was incorporated in 2005 and is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.
Market capitalization: $7958176
Dividend yield: N/A%
CMOC Group Limited, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the mining, beneficiation, smelting, refining, and trading of copper, cobalt, molybdenum, phosphates, and other base and rare metals. The company provides import and export of goods and technology, consulting, enterprise operating and management, logistics, and transportation businesses. It has operations in China, Australia, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Switzerland, and internationally. The company was formerly known as China Molybdenum Co., Ltd. and changed its name to CMOC Group Limited in June 2022. CMOC Group Limited was incorporated in 2006 and is based in Luoyang, the People's Republic of China.
Market capitalization: $126569455616
P/E ratio: 41
Dividend yield: 0.0142%
Glencore plc engages in the production, refinement, processing, storage, transport, and marketing of metals and minerals, and energy products in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. It operates through two segments: Marketing Activities and Industrial Activities. The company engages in production and marketing copper, cobalt, nickel, zinc, lead, chrome ore, ferrochrome, vanadium, aluminum, alumina, and iron ore; and coal, crude oil, refined products, and natural gas, as well as oil exploration/production and refining/distribution. It also operates marketing and distribution of physical commodities sourced from third party producers and company's production to industrial consumers, including the battery, electronic, construction, automotive, steel, energy, and oil industries. In addition, the company provides financing, logistics, and other services to producers and consumers of commodities. Glencore plc was founded in 1974 and is headquartered in Baar, Switzerland.
Market capitalization: $45346537472
P/E ratio: 13.6648
PEG ratio: 0.4092
Dividend yield: 0.0274%
Go Metals Corp., an exploration stage company, engages in the acquisition and exploration of mining properties in Canada. The company explores for nickel, copper, cobalt, gold, and PGE deposits. Its flagship project is the HSP property that consists of approximately 400 square kilometer land package located in north of Havre-Saint Pierre, Quebec, including Clyde and 98 properties. The company was incorporated in 2012 and is based in Vancouver, Canada.
Market capitalization: $2299455
Dividend yield: N/A%
Horizonte Minerals Plc, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the exploration and development of mineral projects in Brazil. The company primarily explores for nickel deposits, as well as cobalt deposits. It holds 100% interest in the Araguaia ferronickel; and the Vermelho Nickel-Cobalt project in the eastern part of the Carajás mining district. The company is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom.
Market capitalization: $10538250
PEG ratio: 0
Dividend yield: N/A%
Red Rock Resources Plc engages in the production and exploration of natural resources assets in the South Africa, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia, and internationally. The company explores for manganese, iron ore, uranium, gold, copper, cobalt, lithium, and nickel, as well as oil and gas properties. It holds a 100% economic interest in the Migori Gold project located in Kenya. The company was incorporated in 2004 and is headquartered in London, the United Kingdom.
Market capitalization: $2748678
PEG ratio: 0
Dividend yield: N/A%
Sherritt International Corporation engages in the mining, processing, refining, and sale of nickel and cobalt in North America, Cuba, Europe, Asia, Australia, and internationally. It operates through Metals, Power, Technologies, Oil and Gas, and Corporate segments. The company also produces and sells agricultural fertilizers, such as anhydrous ammonia, granular ammonium sulfate, and crystalline ammonium sulfate; and sulfuric acid, zinc sulfides, and copper sulfides. In addition, it constructs and operates power generation facilities that provide electricity in Cuba. Further, the company offers technical support, process optimization, and technology development services; and ancillary drilling services. Its products are used in stainless steel, specialty steel, chemical, and welding applications. Sherritt International Corporation was incorporated in 1927 and is based in Toronto, Canada.
Market capitalization: $111240920
PEG ratio: -0.02
Dividend yield: N/A%
Umicore SA operates as a materials technology and recycling company worldwide. It operates through Catalysis, Energy & Surface Technologies, and Recycling segments. The Catalysis segment produces automotive catalysts for gasoline, and diesel light and heavy-duty diesel applications; stationary catalysis for industrial emissions control; and precious metals-based compounds and catalysts for use in the pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries, as well as fuel cell applications. The Energy & Surface Technologies segment offers cobalt and specialty materials, rechargeable battery materials, and electro-optic materials, as well as metal deposition solutions, including electroplating and PVD coating. The Recycling segment treats waste streams containing precious and other specialty metals from a range of industrial residues and end-of-life materials. This segment also produces precious metals-based materials for glass production, electric, and electronic applications. The company was formerly known as Union Minière du Haut Katanga and changed its name to Umicore SA in 2001. Umicore SA was founded in 1805 and is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
Market capitalization: $4803201024
P/E ratio: 12.0594
PEG ratio: 2.11
Dividend yield: 0.057%
Compare trading platforms to invest in cobalt stocks
Some cobalt stocks, like Vale and Wheaton Precious Metals, are available on the NYSE. That means you can easily purchase them with any brokerage account. The table below compares some of the most popular US brokers. But if you plan to heavily trade cobalt, you’ll want to compare international brokerage accounts that offer access to foreign exchanges.
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Cobalt plays an important role in our modern society, contributing to the production of batteries, magnets and chemical catalysts. While its primary production lines in the DRC are far from stable, experts believe we will continue to need cobalt to produce electric vehicles in the coming years. To invest in cobalt, you’ll likely need an international brokerage account. Compare your platform options to find the brokerage that best fits your needs.
Frequently asked questions
Most rechargeable lithium-ion batteries contain cobalt. This includes batteries for smartphones, tablets, laptops and electric vehicles.
Over the past 10 years, the spot price for one pound of cobalt has fluctuated between $12 and $40.
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Shannon Terrell is a lead writer and spokesperson at NerdWallet and a former editor at Finder, specializing in personal finance. Her writing and analysis on investing and banking has been featured in Bloomberg, Global News, Yahoo Finance, GoBankingRates and Black Enterprise. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and English literature from the University of Toronto Mississauga.
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