Apart from Australia, the Philippines is the next major source of mined cobalt in Asia, although mining policy uncertainty is high and future supply growth is uncertain.
The Philippines is the fourth largest cobalt producer in the world, accounting for 4.7kt of global cobalt production (3.4% of total) in 2020. While in early 2021 President Rodrigo Duterte lifted a ban on new mining permits in an effort to boost domestic revenues, there is strong environmental and cultural opposition against mining in the country, which Fitch believes will pose a major risk to cobalt production growth in the country.
Cobalt is mined as a by-product of nickel mining in the Philippines, and exported to China for refining.
Cobalt is a chemical element with the symbol Co and atomic number 27. Like nickel, cobalt is found in the Earth’s crust only in a chemically combined form, save for small deposits found in alloys of natural meteoric iron. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal.