Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Some Data and Analysis on Cobalt Mined, Refined, and Consumed Amounts

The Internet was searched for data on amounts of cobalt mined, refined and consumed over the past few years, e.g., from 2011 to 2016.   Values found varied over a range.  The values in the following table (table 1) represent the amounts (in metric tons – mt) found that seemed to me to be most reliable.


table 1
mined amounts (mt)
refined amounts (mt)
consumed amounts (mt)
refined to mined yield
2011
109,000
82,300


2012
103,000
77,500
74,000
75%
2013
110,000
82,538
78,440
75%
2014
123,000
89,000
83,146
72%
2015
125,000
90,150
89,000
72%
2016
126,000
96,000
94,000
76%
cagr
2.9%
3.1%
6.0%



Also in the table are shown refined-to-mined yield percentages (the refined amounts column divided by the mined amounts column).    I am assuming that these percentages represent the limits of mined cobalt that can be processed (refined) with the processes used.  If correct, these percentages would represent a constraint that should be reviewed for improving.

The above table also shows the compounded annual growth rates (cagrs) for the amounts mined (2.9% from 2011 to 2016); the amounts refined (3.1% from 2012 to 2016); and the amounts consumed (6.0% from 2012 to 2016; a 2011 refined amount could not be found).  These cagr percentages were used to project estimated cobalt amounts mined, refined, and consumed for the period 2017 to 2022.  These projected amounts are shown in the following table (table 2).


table 2
mined amounts (mt)
refined amounts (mt)
consumed amounts (mt)
deficit amounts
2017
129,654
98,976
99,640
-664
2018
133,414
102,044
105,618
-3,574
2019
137,283
105,208
111,956
-6,748
2020
141,264
108,469
118,673
-10,204
2021
145,361
111,832
125,793
-13,962
2022
149,576
115,298
133,341
-18,042
cagr
2.9%
3.1%
6.0%



If the same cagrs for 2011(2012) to 2016 continue for the next 6 years (2017 to 2022), table 2 suggests that the amount of consumed cobalt starts to exceed the refined amount available (in table 1 refined amounts always exceed consumed amounts) and deficits in the amount of cobalt needed (consumed) compared to amounts available (refined) begin to exist.  Table 2 shows these deficit amounts.

Cobalt deficits over the next few years are being predicted by several analysts on the Internet.  The deficits shown in table 2 are probably too low because of the expected surge in electric vehicle use and the need for cobalt in these vehicles' batteries.   Projected annual consumed increases going forward from 2017 are likely to be much higher than the 6% used in table 2.


A conclusion is that mined cobalt needs to increase at a higher rate than in recent years.  Also, a higher process yield percentage (refined to mined yield) could help reduce possible future deficits.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Some Data on Industrial Enzymes

Based on an analysis of industrial enzyme marketing data found on the Internet, the global market for industrial enzymes in 2016 was approximately $7 billion.   The following table shows the most frequently referenced sectors where enzymes are used and an estimate of the 2016 market percentages and values of the enzymes used in each sector:

sector
approximate % of total global market value ($7 Billion)
approximate market value (in billion $)
food & beverage
28%
1.96
detergents
25%
1.75
animal feed
12%
0.84
nutraceutical
12%
0.84
personal care
12%
0.84
textile
5%
0.35
paper & pulp
5%
0.35
waste treatment
1%
0.07
total
100%
7


The data in the table is approximate, for example, the total global value might be $1 billion more or less than $7 billion.   The relative sector percentages and values are likely correct.  The total global value and the percentages and values for food and beverage and detergents are based on reported amounts on the Internet.    Percentages and values for textiles, paper and pulp, and waste treatment are best guess.

The following companies have substantial industrial enzyme sales:

Novozymes
DowDupont
Royal DSM
AB Enzymes (a division of Associated British Foods)
Chr. Hansen
Advanced Enzyme Technologies
Shandong Longda Bio Products

By far, Novozymes sells the largest amount of industrial enzymes, with approximately 50% of 2016’s $7 billion global sales.   Percentages of the industrial enzyme market for the other companies are more difficult to estimate as the companies do not separate out enzyme sales in their reporting.


Click here to read a good overview on the use of industrial enzymes.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert – September 2017

The purpose of this blog is to identify chemical and metal shortages reported on the Internet.  The sources of the information reported here are primarily news releases issued on the Internet.  The issue period of the news releases is September 2017.

Section I below lists those chemicals and metals that were on the previous month’s Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list and continue to have news releases indicating they are in short supply. Click here to read the August 2017 Chemical and Metal Shortage Alert list.

Section II lists the new chemicals and metals (not on the August alert).  Also provided is some explanation for the shortage and geographical information.  This blog attempts to list only actual shortage situations – those shortages that are being experienced during the period covered by the news releases.  Chemicals and metals identified in news releases as only being in danger of being in short supply status are not listed.

Section I. 

Graphite electrodes:  global; supply not keeping up with demand
Rebar steel: northern Europe; production not keeping up with demand
      
Section II.   Shortages Reported in September not found on the Previous Month’s List

Bauxite: Brazil; supply not keeping up with demand
Building materials: Viet Nam; supply not keeping up with demand
Carbon monoxide: South Korea; production not keeping up with demand
Needle coke:  global; supply not keeping up with demand
Polyethylene: United States; supply not keeping up with demand

Reasons for Section II shortages can be broadly categorized as: 

1.  Mining not keeping up with demand: none
2.  Production not keeping up with demand:  carbon monoxide
3.  Government regulations: none
4.  Sources no longer available: none
5.  Insufficient imports: none
6.  Supply not keeping up with demand:  bauxite; building materials; needle coke; polyethylene




Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Iron Ore Mine Productivity


Thirteen iron ore mines, including most of the largest ones globally, were found on Google Maps and then their land areas in square miles were measured using the satellite view.  The Internet was used to identify the mines and also to find the latest available data on the annual amounts of iron ore produced at these mines.

The areas measured and the production data is found in the table below.   With this data, iron ore mine productivity (annual production in metric tons (mt) per square mile) was computed and is shown in the table. 


mine name
country
state /province /region
company
area -square miles
production million mt per year
annual production in mt per square mile
hopedowns 4
au
western australia/pilbara
rio tinto/ hancock
5
43
8,600,000
carajas
bz
para
vale
15
120
8,000,000
mount whaleback
au
western australia/pilbara
bhp billiton
10
77
7,700,000
vargem grande
bz
minas gerais
vale
3
23
7,666,667
mining area c
au
western australia/pilbara
bhp billiton
8
57
7,125,000
yandi
au
western australia/pilbara
bhp billiton
13
80
6,153,846
hamersley  (hub)
au
western australia/pilbara
rio tinto
25
133
5,320,000
minas itabiritos
bz
minas gerais
vale
8
32
4,000,000
christmas creek
au
western australia/pilbara
fortescue
13
50
3,846,154
samarco alegria
bz
minas gerais
vale/bhp billiton
6
22
3,666,667
cloudbreak
au
western australia/pilbara
fortescue
13
40
3,076,923
khumani king
sa
northern cape
assore/ african rainbow minerals
6
13
2,166,667
sishen
sa
northern cape
kumba/anglo american
20
36
1,800,000



average
11
56
5,317,071


Measuring an iron ore mine using Google Maps’ satellite view is straight forward and likely to be accurate.  The production data is less certain as it relies on company reporting, which is hard to verify.  

With these qualifications, if the data in the table are reasonably correct, the data suggest that some mines are more productive than others and that no correlation between the land-area size of a mine and its productivity exists.  Many factors influence mine productivity.  Two reports, one from EY and one from PWC, identify and discuss such factors.  (Click here and here to read these reports.)  What might be interesting is to try to determine what factors at the individual mines listed in the table account for their productivity.