(This Feb. 10 story corrects to change title of initiative in paragraph 6)
LONDON (Reuters) – Glencore signed a five-year deal to supply battery maker Samsung SDI with up to 21,000 tonnes of cobalt, the miner and trader said on Monday.
An expected boom in demand for electric vehicles has pushed battery and car makers to clinch supply deals for key raw materials such as cobalt.
In the last year, Glencore has agreed cobalt supply deals with battery maker SK Innovation, China’s GEM Co Ltd, Umicore and BMW.
Glencore produced 46,300 tonnes of cobalt in 2019, up 10% from the previous year and but expects to churn out 29,000 tonnes this year after shutting as its Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Some cobalt sourced in Congo, which accounts for about 60% of global supply, has come under scrutiny for its potential use of children in mining.
Glencore and Samsung SDI said they are committed to ensuring the ethical and responsible production and have agreed that the Congo operations will be independently audited each year against a due diligence standard defined by the Responsible Minerals Initiative.
Oversupply in the cobalt market has pushed prices down from a peak of about $95,000 a tonne in 2018 to $34,000 currently.
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala, editing by Louise Heavens)