Global mining giant Glencore has signed a deal to supply Korean battery-maker SK Innovation with up to 30,000 tons of cobalt contained in hydroxide between 2020 and 2025.
Glencore expects global demand for cobalt for EV batteries to reach 92 kilotons by 2025. The quantity of cobalt supplied under this contract will allow SK Innovation to produce batteries for some 3 million EVs.
The production of cobalt has been accompanied by glaring human rights concerns. Both companies say they are committed to producing cobalt in an ethical and responsible way. “There are continuous allegations of human rights abuses linked to cobalt production, and SK Innovation is voluntarily focusing on ethical and responsible sourcing,” Glencore asserts. “The cobalt in this supply contract will be sourced from Glencore’s industrial mining operations located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Both companies have agreed that the DRC operations will be independently audited each year against the Cobalt Refinery Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard, a standard defined by the Responsible Mining Initiative.
“This newly established partnership demonstrates the 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 Nico Paraskevas, Glencore’s Head of Copper and Cobalt Marketing.