Samsung SDI, Glencore sign cobalt deal
Battery maker secures 5-year supply from global cobalt miner Metal Tech News Weekly Edition – February 12, 2020
Last updated 6/27/2020 at 5:15am
Glencore Plc Jan. 10 announced that it has signed an agreement to provide Samsung SDI with a five-year supply of cobalt hydroxide, a key ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, smartphones, computers and other electronic devises.
Under the terms of this supply contract, Glencore will provide up to 21,000 metric tons of cobalt contained in cobalt hydroxide between 2020 and 2024.
The cobalt will be sourced from Glencore's industrial mining operations located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Glencore and Samsung SDI are committed to ensuring the ethical and responsible production and procurement of cobalt.
In December, Glencore announced that is joining the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network, an industry collaboration that utilizes blockchain technology to support responsible sourcing and production practices from mine to market.
With members encompassing downstream auto brands, refiners and miners, RSBN's blockchain has moved beyond proof of concept and is on track to become commercially operational by spring 2020.
Glencore, the world's largest cobalt producer, says being a member of RSBN will enable Glencore to deliver improved supply chain traceability and transparency and integrate good practice with its supply chain partners.
The initial focus of Glencore's participation in RSBN is on cobalt.
Glencore, a large and diversified mining company that also has processing and trading operations around the globe, will play a role in supporting the network's expansion to cover other battery metals as well as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold in 2020.
"RSBN plays a key role in advancing the sustainable partnership between the producers of commodities that will enable the transition to a low-carbon economy and key consumers around the world," said Glencore Head of Marketing for Copper and Gold Niko Paraskevas. "We look forward to working with the network to further embed responsible sourcing good practice across the mineral supply chain."
Unlike the artisanal mines in DRC, which have been highly publicized for social and environmental impacts of cobalt extraction, Glencore's operations in DRC are industrial scale and are carried out without the use of child labor and other human rights violations the hand mines are known for.
As part of its agreement with Samsung SDI, a world-leading manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries and other electronic materials, Glencore has agreed to have its DRC operations independently audited each year against the Cobalt Refinery Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard, which ensures that cobalt supply chains meet international standards for ethical and environmentally responsible mining.
"We are pleased to extend our partnership with Samsung SDI by entering into this long-term cobalt supply agreement. This demonstrates a further continuation of Glencore's cobalt hydroxide marketing strategy to secure long-term supply agreements with key players in the lithium-ion battery supply chain," said Paraskevas. "This also illustrates Glencore's important role in supplying the materials that enable the energy and mobility transition and Glencore's commitment to responsible production."
In January, Bloomberg reported that Glencore is also in talks to supply Tesla Inc. with cobalt. Further details can be read in Tesla heads to the mines for its batteries in the Feb. 5 edition of Metal Tech News.