Materials firm Glencore will supply cobalt from its Australian mine to vehicle OEM General Motors following the signing of a multi-year sourcing agreement.
Cobalt processed from Glencore’s Murrin Murrin operation will be used in GM’s Ultium lithium-ion battery cathodes.
Both companies are members of the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), and Glencore’s Murrin Murrin operation is conformant with the OECD-aligned Responsible Minerals Assurance Process.
Cobalt for the battery supply chain
Cobalt makes up only 0.001% of the earth’s crust and is added to lithium-ion battery cathodes to improve energy density and battery longevity.
Early this month, Glencore agreed to purchase the nickel and cobalt products from Electra Battery Materials from 2023 until the end of 2024 on market-based terms.
In February, Glencore signed two recycling partnerships to introduce “responsibly-sourced” battery grade cobalt to the manufacturing ecosystem from used batteries and the battery manufacturing process.
The first deal was for Managem’s Moroccan CTT Hydrometallurgical Refinery at Guemssa, near Marrakech; the second was to supply its strategic partner Britishvolt in the UK with cobalt.
GM’s battery plans
By the end of 2025, GM plans to be able to build one million electric vehicles in North America, and the deal with Glencore is the latest in the US-firm’s actions to secure an EV supply chain, including projects targeting key materials and components.
GM and South Korean materials firm POSCO Chemical signed a deal in March to work with the governments of Canada and Quebec to build a new cathode active material (CAM) facility in Bécancour, Quebec.
The $400 million facility will produce CAM for GM’s Ultium batteries, which will power its electric vehicles.
The announcement followed GM and POSCO Chemical forming a joint venture to build a factory last December.