BMW to buy cobalt for EV batteries directly from mines

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German carmaker Bayerische Motoren Werke, BMW, on Tuesday, said it will buy cobalt directly from mines in Australia and Morocco to ensure they are not produced by child labor.

Cobalt is a key component for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

BMW board member responsible for procurement, Andreas Wendt, told a briefing in Paris that the new supply of cobalt would be used in the carmaker’s next generation of EVs in 2020.

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The announcement came as the London Metal Exchange (LME) launched an initiative under which it could ban or delist brands that are not responsibly sourced by 2022 to help root out metal tainted by child labor or corruption.

A spokesman for mining and trading firm Glencore told Reuters his company would supply BMW with cobalt from its Australian Murrin Murrin mine, which last year produced 2,900 tonnes of cobalt.

The world’s largest known reserves of cobalt are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the raw ingredient is often mined by small, artisanal operations and supply chains are not strictly monitored.

BMW said last year it was exploring ways to improve working conditions for mining cobalt in Congo through a pilot project.

The announcement came as the London Metal Exchange (LME) launched an initiative under which it could ban or delist brands that are not responsibly sourced by 2022 to help root out metal tainted by child labor or corruption.

A spokesman for mining and trading firm Glencore told Reuters his company would supply BMW with cobalt from its Australian Murrin Murrin mine, which last year produced 2,900 tonnes of cobalt.

The world’s largest known reserves of cobalt are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the raw ingredient is often mined by small, artisanal operations and supply chains are not strictly monitored.

BMW said last year it was exploring ways to improve working conditions for mining cobalt in Congo through a pilot project.

Yetunde Adegoke

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