Apple buys cobalt to secure long-term battery supplies

REUTERS

Apple is reportedly holding conversations with the cobalt miners for securing long-term supplies, according to Bloomberg. According to a Bloomberg report, Apple is in talks with miners to buy long-term supplies of cobalt, a key ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries used in Apple's iPhones and iPads.

And, according to the sources, that's exactly it.

Talks with cobalt miners could be the outcome of concerns over the shortage of cobalt as the demand from the electric vehicles escalates.

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

And its not like it's just a small amount of the material the iPhone flogger is looking to buy.

Apple aims to secure contracts for several thousand metric tons of cobalt each year for five year or more, the news agency reported. Glencore, the mining multinational that operates in about 50 countries, has named Apple as one of the main customers it was talking to about cobalt, according to Bloomberg. But there's still a long way to go in order to make sure that mining companies respect basic human rights.

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Apple and other major cobalt consumers are scurrying to access cobalt resources that are now limited-not because of the amount of ore available, but because mining companies can't get it out of the ground fast enough to keep up with everyday demand of rechargeable batteries. BMW is also close to securing a 10-year supply deal with an unnamed supplier in February.

Apple has not responded to an Observer request for comment.

"As a result, the global proven reserves of cobalt are dependent on the economic viability of the relevant copper and nickel mines", cautioned analysts at Natixis. Though, with interest in cobalt surging to great numbers, the money suppliers are asking for cobalt has dramatically risen too.

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Glencore Plc Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg late a year ago named Apple among several companies the miner was talking to about cobalt, without giving further details. Worldwide cobalt prices soared from $34,600 per ton in January 2017 to $81,360 this year, rising by about 135 percent, due to ongoing war in the Democratic Republic of Congo - the biggest cobalt producer globally.

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