Reading MINING.COM yesterday, I came across this headline gem: Soaring cobalt prices force Samsung SDI to mine metal from old phones. No problem there.
South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI is making plans to recycle cobalt from used mobile phones. The company is also developing lithium-ion batteries containing minimal amounts of the metal.
As demand for cobalt soars in electric vehicles and storage for renewable energy, so will the price of the metal.
None of this is news to CMJ readers, except perhaps that Samsung is getting on a recycling bandwagon.
What struck me is that responsible miners have encouraged recycling for years as part of the sustainable use of metals. I can’t remember how long ago I learned that Noranda’s copper smelter at Rouyn-Noranda, Que., was shredding computers and electronic material to recover the precious metals in them. It’s been decades – maybe the ‘90s or even the ‘80s.
How many times are iron and steel re-melted and repurposed? How much copper goes from wire to pipes to wire? How often are aluminum cans re-smelted? You get the idea.
My point is that the mining community has known for a long time that sustainability is key to the future. It seems that Samsung is coming belatedly to this conclusion, and for a different reason. They want to avoid skyrocketing costs and maintain profitability. I guess they are looking toward their future, too.