Apple speaking with miners directly to buy cobalt

by Linda Olson February 22, 2018, 0:33
Apple speaking with miners directly to buy cobalt

Electronics and vehicle makers are racing to lock in supply agreements for cobalt amid fears of shortage. The challenge is that with the growth of electric and hybrid vehicles gobbling ever larger amounts of the metal, Cupertino fears a shortage that could hurt its sales figures.

Apple is in talks to buy cobalt directly from miners to help shield it from any shortages sparked by the boom in electric cars, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Apple has previously left cobalt buying to the companies that produce its batteries.

Bloomberg's source reported that Apple may not actually go ahead with a deal, as the parties involved are still only in the discussion phase. Companies from BMW AG and Volkswagen AG to Samsung SDI Co. are racing to sign multiyear cobalt contracts to ensure they have sufficient supplies of the metal to meet ambitious targets for electric-vehicle production.

Now a new report reveals that Apple is attempting to secure Cobalt supplies by purchasing the mineral directly from Miners.

Further, the report noted that during 2017, lithium-ion batteries deployed in the portable consumer electronics products accounted for roughly 72% of total cobalt consumed in the lithium-ion batteries.

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Cobalt demand from the electric vehicles industry is also forecast to grow from to 95,000 tonnes by 2026 from 12,000 tonnes past year, according to consultancy CRU.

Cobalt prices went ballistic past year, with the metal quoted on the London Metal Exchange ending 2017 at $75,500 per tonne, a 129 percent annual surge sparked by intensifying supply fears and an expected demand spike from battery markets.

BMW is also close to securing a 10-year supply deal, the carmaker's head of procurement told German daily FAZ in early February.

Two-thirds of supplies come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there has never been a peaceful transition of power and child labour is still used in parts of the mining industry.

But due to the exponentially growing demand for the metal, prices per metric ton of cobalt have more than increased threefold from between September 2016 and January 2018 to more than $70,000. These players would not leave any stone unturned to secure the supply of cobalt in the future as well.

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