BMW to buy cobalt direct from Australia, Morocco for EV batteries

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PARIS (Reuters) – German carmaker BMW will buy cobalt, a key component for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, directly from mines in Australia and Morocco to ensure they are not produced by child labour, an executive said on Tuesday.

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 labour or corruption.

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

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.

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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.

Reporting by Pratima Desai and Peter Hobson, writing by Eric Onstad; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Edmund Blair

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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