Apple explores buying cobalt from mining cos; only accepts cobalt from Dem. Rep. of Congo if adequate safeguards against child labour
Author: The Times (UK), Published on: 26 February 2018
"Apple powers up fight over battery metal cobalt," 22 February 2018
Apple is seeking to buy cobalt directly from mining companies amid a looming shortage of the metal, a key ingredient for the lithium-ion batteries in its iPhones and iPads. Fearful that the boom in electric cars might put pressure on supplies, the Californian technology giant has been in discussions to secure contracts for “several thousand metric tons” of cobalt each year for at least five years, according to Bloomberg. While smartphones use an estimated ten grams of refined cobalt, a typical electric car battery uses five to ten kilograms. If sales of electric vehicles hit a forecast of 30 million by 2030, it will drive further explosive growth in cobalt demand, according to research... by CRU... The talks... come after a tripling in the price of cobalt in the past 18 months, as carmakers jump into the fully electric or hybrid power business, following the likes of Toyota and Tesla.
... Apple’s move to secure its own supplies of cobalt comes amid a global drive to safeguard supplies of crucial metals used in electronics while reducing dependence on the DRC, which supplies two thirds of the world’s cobalt but has been criticised for human rights abuses, including using child labour. In response to criticism from human rights groups, Apple now uses only cobalt refined and smelted in China, Belgium and Finland. It will accept metal from the DRC only if it comes from mines that can prove they provide adequate health and safety protections and safeguards against child labour. [also refers to Glencore, Tesla, Toyota]