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By Shane Lasley
Metal Tech News 

Glencore joins Global Battery Alliance

Supplies cobalt at front of sustainable battery value chain

 

Last updated 3/10/2020 at 3:09pm

Glencore Mutanda copper cobalt mine Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Glencore

Workers at the Mutanda copper-cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Glencore plc March 6 announced it has joined the Global Battery Alliance, a World Economic Forum initiative to help establish and collaborate on a sustainable battery value chain.

GBA is a partnership of 70 members that includes businesses across the entire battery value train, from mining companies providing the metals going into the batteries to manufacturers that use those batteries in their products, as well as governmental and non-governmental organization.

The alliance believes batteries hold the power to help meet the carbon reduction goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, while also providing 600 million people with access to electricity and creating 10 million safe and sustainable jobs around the world.

To realize this potential, however, the battery value chain will have to expand by almost 20 times over the next decade.

"To produce these batteries responsibly and sustainably means lowering emissions, eliminating human rights violations, ensuring safe working conditions across the value chain, and improving repurposing and recycling," GBA posted on its website.

As the world's largest producer of cobalt, an important ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and cordless devices, Glencore is expected to play a large role in this decade of battery expansion.

"As a responsible producer and marketer of commodities essential to the energy and mobility transition – such as cobalt, nickel and copper – we intend to play an active role in the alliance, and to join forces with many of our business partners to help establish and promote a circular and responsible battery value chain," Glencore penned.

Ensuring an ethical and reliable supply of cobalt to meet the skyrocketing demand driven largely by the emerging EV sector has become a concern for manufactures, consumers and human rights groups.

This is because more than 60% of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an African country rife with political instability, poverty and social ills.

From a human rights perspective, these concerns over DRC cobalt are primarily due to unsafe mining conditions and child labor in artisanal mines, which individuals or small groups carry out mining by hand.

While much of Glencore's cobalt also comes from DRC, its mines there are industrial scale and carried out without the use of child labor and other human rights violations the hand mines are known for.

In order to trace the ethically sourced cobalt from its mines to the lithium-ion batteries this metal is going in and the EVs and other devices that are being powered by those batteries, Glencore 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.

"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."

More information on blockchain and how it is being used to trace minerals from mines to consumers can be found at Blockchain provides mining accountability in the Jan. 22 edition of Metal Tech News.

By joining GBA and RSBN, Glencore is establishing strong partnerships to demonstrate the cobalt it supplies the battery sector is mined responsibly and a network to trace this ethically sourced battery metal from the mines to the customers that want to know their battery-powered vehicles and devices are not contributing to the world's social ills.

Instead, the mining giant is positioning itself to help lessen these conditions by providing living wage jobs in a country beset by poverty and providing families with an alternative to the need to work in dangerous conditions in order to supply basic needs.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News

Over his more than 11 years of covering mining, Shane has become renowned for his insights into technology metals and ability to report on them in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.

Email: [email protected]
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