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Electric vehicle boom drives Apple to stock up on cobalt

Electric vehicle boom drives Apple to stock up on cobalt

Apple is one of the planet's largest hoarders of cobalt, but until recently, it has purchased it via its battery manufacturers.

Bloomberg is now reporting that Apple is in direct talks to buy long-term supplies of cobalt from miners for the first time. Reports indicate that now about a quarter of all cobalt mined globally is used in smartphones and the demand for cobalt is expected to boom by 2030.

Although Bloomberg has cited an anonymous source, the news of Apple looking to buy cobalt for their batteries makes a lot of logical sense.

Bloomberg says that talks first began more than a year ago, and Apple is seeking a long-term deal - though nothing is yet certain. Smartphones use only eight grams of cobalt, while electric auto batteries require over 8,000 grams.

Apple is competing with the likes of BMW AG, Volkswagen AG, and Samsung SDI Co.to sign multi-year contracts with cobalt miners.

Australian Mines Ltd., developing the Sconi mine in Queensland state, this week agreed a cobalt and nickel supply deal with SK Innovation Co., South Korea's top oil refiner, that's worth about A$5 billion ($3.9 billion) at current prices, the Perth-based company said February 21 in a presentation. About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones.

Sturridge lasts just three minutes against Chelsea
And Hazard netted a brilliant third when he first an unstoppable left-footed shot into the bottom corner in the 71st minute. Neither side could seem to create any clear cut chances however, which suited Chelsea far better than it did West Brom .

Further, the report noted that during 2017, lithium-ion batteries deployed in the portable consumer electronics products accounted for roughly 72% of total cobalt consumed in the lithium-ion batteries.

SK Innovation, which plans to use the raw materials at an EV battery manufacturing plant in Hungary, agreed to buy all of the project's planned output for up to 13 years, according to the filing. South Korea's top oil refiner, SK Innovation Co., agreed to a deal this week of $3.9 billion with Australian Mines Ltd. BMW is also close to securing a 10-year supply deal. The price of cobalt has tripled in the last 18 months to $80,000 per metric ton.

One issue with the cobalt supply is proportion.

War-torn countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo have vast cobalt reserves and 20 percent of cobalt from that country is mined by hand and by children in some cases, Amnesty International said.

Apple has increased its engagement with cobalt miners in recent years due to scrutiny from worldwide human rights organizations.

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