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Glencore signs five-year deal to provide cobalt to Samsung SDI

By Ramla Soni

The miner will provide up to 21,000 tons of cobalt contained in cobalt hydroxide to the battery maker between 2020 and 2024

Glencore has signed a five-year deal to provide battery-maker Samsung SDI with cobalt hydroxide, the miner and trader has said.

Under the terms of this supply contract, Glencore will provide up to 21,000 tons of cobalt contained in cobalt hydroxide between 2020 and 2024.

Glencore produced 46,300 tons of cobalt in 2019, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous year. It expects to churn out 29,000 tons this year after the closure of its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Nico Paraskevas, Glencore's head of copper and cobalt marketing, said: “This demonstrates a further continuation of Glencore’s cobalt hydroxide marketing strategy to secure long-term supply agreements with key players in the lithium-ion battery supply chain. This also illustrates Glencore’s important role in supplying the materials that enable the energy and mobility transition and Glencore’s commitment to responsible production.”

Cobalt sourced in Congo, which accounts for about 60 per cent of global supply, has come under speculation for its potential use of children in mining.

Glencore and Samsung SDI said they are committed to ensuring ethical and responsible production. They have agreed that the Congo operations will be independently audited each year against a due diligence standard defined by the Responsible Mining Initiative.

Oversupply in the cobalt market has pushed prices down from a peak of about $95,000 a ton in 2018 to $34,000 currently.

In the past year, Glencore has agreed cobalt supply deals with battery maker SK Innovation, China’s GEM Co Ltd, Umicore and BMW.

Glencore is one of the world’s largest global diversified natural resource companies and a producer and marketer of more than 60 commodities. The Group's operations comprise around 150 mining and metallurgical sites and oil production assets.

FURTHER READING: Volvo Cars to use blockchain traceability of cobalt used in electric car batteries

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