Recent developments have come about via Bloomberg. They’ve recently reported that Apple is seeking to buy long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners. Although Bloomberg has cited an anonymous source, the news of Apple looking to buy cobalt for their batteries makes a lot of logical sense.
There’s currently an industry-wide fear of a cobalt shortage. Cobalt is a key component of smartphones batteries, and it’s estimated that each smartphone uses around eight grams of refined cobalt. Seeing as this isn’t a large quantity of cobalt, it’s no smartphones which are depleting cobalt resources: it’s electric cars. An electric car battery uses one thousand times more refined cobalt than a smartphone does, therefore meaning that it’s actually the automobile industry which is taking up cobalt supplies. Apple is now competing against global carmakers to acquire enough cobalt for their future products.
So, where does the cobalt actually come from? Although Glencore – a name which may be familiar to you – is the biggest supplier, two-thirds of all cobalt supplies actually come from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though, with interest in cobalt surging to great numbers, the money suppliers are asking for cobalt has dramatically risen too. A metric ton now costs $80,000 which is more than triple of what it used to cost 18 months ago. By collaborating directly with miners, Apple may be able to get a better deal for the cobalt.
Bloomberg’s source reported that Apple may not actually go ahead with a deal, as the parties involved are still only in the discussion phase. But, if a deal does go ahead, it will certainly become big news very quickly.