June 27, 2021 Vulcan Energy

In the heart of Finland, nestled into the pine-clad fringes of the Gulf of Bothnia, sits Kokkola, a compact port city of 48,000 souls.

For more than three centuries it was a shipbuilding centre, but these days it has a different claim to fame: it hosts one of the only large cobalt refineries outside China.

Some cobalt is mined in Finland’s Lapland region, and the mining belt is only three to seven hours from Kokkola by road. But much of the raw material processed at the Kokkola refinery is actually shipped in from the far-flung Democratic Republic of the Congo, 8000 kilometres away as the crow flies.