Analyst comment

DRC and Indonesia to drive global cobalt production in 2024

GlobalData forecasts global cobalt production to rise to 231.5kt in 2024, a 6.5% increase over 2022, with growth being driven primarily by the DRC and Indonesia.

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Tenke Fungurume Mine is one of the largest copper and cobalt mines in the world, in southeastern DRC. Credit: Emmet Livingstone/AFP via Getty Images

Global cobalt production is expected to rise for the fourth time in a row, to 231.5kt in 2024, an increase of 6.5% over 2022. Increased supply from the DRC and Indonesia will primarily support the growth in 2024. 

Growing interest in cobalt, combined with government and private sector investment to meet rising demand, has increased the number of countries producing cobalt from seven in 2000 to 16 in 2023. 

The DRC accounted for 68.6% of global cobalt output in 2023. Although the DRC will continue to dominate the world’s cobalt supply in the coming years, its share will gradually decline to 56.5% by 2030.  

In contrast, Indonesia's share is expected to rise from 8.3% in 2023 to 20.8% by 2030. Production growth in the DRC will be supported by the restart of CMOC’s Kinsanfu (KFM) mine in the second quarter of 2023.

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Indonesia became the second-largest cobalt producer in the world in 2022, surpassing established producers including Russia, Australia, Canada, Cuba, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. The country is expected to produce 14.1kt in 2023, up by 40.7% over 2022.  

Projects started in 2021 and 2022 have ramped up to support production in 2023. For example, the PT Halmahera Persada Lygend project continued to expand in 2022, with Phase 2 also beginning. 

Looking ahead, global cobalt production is expected to increase at a CAGR of 5.1% to reach 311.8kt by 2030. Output from Indonesia will remain major contributor to this growth during the forecast period, with the commencement of several projects, including Weda Bay Expansion Project (Sonic Bay), Sorowako and Pomalaa.