Cobalt cool

Africa – China – US: How cobalt has become new crude oil

By Kelvin Ayebaefie Emmanuel

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Posted on December 8, 2021 17:44

An artisanal miner carries raw ore at Tilwizembe outside of Kolwezi
An artisanal miner carries raw ore at Tilwizembe, a former industrial copper-cobalt mine, outside of Kolwezi, the capital city of Lualaba Province in the south of DRC on June 11, 2016. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

On the 24 November 2021, a group of G7 countries, including Japan and the US, announced the decision to release crude oil inventories from their Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

For the US Government, the SPR was an underground salt tank that had to be built in Utah as a recession and warproof facility in response to the twin bombings on the World Trade Centre on 9/11.

The US Government had relied on releasing oil from the underground storage tank in July of 2008 when oil prices got to an unbearable peak of $147 per barrel. High oil prices that saw the US importing up to $1bn daily formed part of the policy agenda of the Obama administration, with his popular speech at the University of Cairo in 2009 that laid down an implementation schedule for the fast-tracking of research and development funding for fracking.

The race to decarbonise

Fracking led to legislation to un-ban the drilling of oil offshore in places like Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico, the latter of which has made the US a major oil producer to date. More importantly, his speech set the agenda for a

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