SK Innovation signs long-term contract to purchase cobalt from Glencore

05, Dec. 2019

SEOUL, AJU - To secure a stable source of crucial minerals used to produce batteries for electric vehicles, SK Innovation, a battery-making subsidiary of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate SK Group, has signed a five-year contract to purchase 30,000 tons of cobalt from Glencore.

Glencore produces cobalt mainly as a by-product of copper mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also as a by-product of nickel mining in Australia and Canada. SK Innovation (SKI) said on Wednesday that Glencore would ship cobalt for five years from 2020. SKI has tried to establish a stable supply network of raw materials for battery packs such as aluminum, cobalt, nickel and lithium.

With the deal with Glencore, SKI said it can respond in a stable manner to growing demands for batteries. SKI and Glencore would undergo an external audit of cobalt production to fulfill their ethical responsibilities regarding the exploitation of child labor in Africa.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is the world's biggest cobalt supplier. However, children work in perilous conditions to extract cobalt at unregulated mines in the African nation. In 2018, Amnesty International, the London-based human rights watchdog, wrote to Daimler and other carmakers about potential human rights abuses in their supply chains.