Missouri’s motherlode of cobalt in high demand as key component for new technology

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FREDERICKTOWN, Mo. – There is progress at the Old Madison Mines in Fredericktown, dormant since the late 1970s when they stopped mining lead. But what was left behind is highly valuable – cobalt. This concentration of cobalt, nickel, and copper is highly sought after.

The state has a motherlode of it and Missouri Cobalt is a few weeks away from producing at maximum capacity to the international market.

“We have the largest near-term primary cobalt reserve in North America and that’s not going anywhere,” said Michael Hollomon, CEO of Missouri Cobalt.

Technology is fueling the growing demand for cobalt. Lithium-ion batteries run on cobalt, which powers cellphones, laptops, and the batteries in electric cars. In short, there is a worldwide demand for cobalt.

“Two years ago, we had 17 global battery makers; now we have 72 battery makers,” Hollomon said. “Gigafactories need the critical components of nickel and cobalt, both of which we have for their production.”

Stacey Hastie, owner and chairman of Missouri Cobalt, told Fox 2 News last year that his company was on a mission to provide clean, green, ethically-produced battery materials for the renewable energy industry. They are also doing cleaning the area and eliminating any possible environmental problems. They’ve added 33 new jobs thus far.

“The jobs will go from 33—where they are now—to over 250 and with ancillary work and contracting, it'll be 600 to 1,000 jobs we’ll bring to southeast Missouri,” Hollomon said.

Missouri Cobalt is producing from surface ore left behind from the mines and selling to smelters. It’s big business. And when they go subsurface, they will be a one-stop-shop for the world.

“We are definitely in contact with some of the world’s biggest buyers of cobalt, including Tesla,” Hollomon said.

Experts see a tripling of demand by 2025. With no other new supply other than what’s called "conflict cobalt" in the Congo because of child labor, Missouri Cobalt is well-positioned to supply on their 1,800 acres.

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