BMW is to buy cobalt for its electric vehicle (EV) batteries directly from mines in Australia and Morocco to ensure “complete transparency” about the origin of the raw material.
A spokesperson for the German carmaker told BEST Battery Briefing today the move to obtain supplies outside of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) would “eliminate any residual risks of human rights violations in the mining of cobalt”.
BMW has recently signed a supply contract with Glencore in Australia and has signed a letter of intent for supply from Managem, in Morocco, last year. This “guarantees us security of supply until 2025 and beyond”, the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, BMW said it will step up its goal of increasing the proportion of recycled cobalt in battery cells— backed by the joint technology consortium it formed in 2018 with Swedish lithium-ion start-up Northvolt and Belgium-based materials tech giant Umicore.
BMW is also part of an initiative launched last year with South Korean firms Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics and German chemicals group BASF to establish a joint pilot cobalt mining project to “enhance sustainable mining” for batteries production in the DRC.
Also last year, Chinese battery recycler GEM signed a three-year colbalt materials supply deal with Glencore to secure materials needed to supply batteries to China’s growing EV market.