By Edidi Abdulrafiu
In order to ensure quality and long-term delivery of its products Apple, the iPhone maker, is in talks to buy long-term supplies of cobalt for iPhone batteries directly from miners, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing sources.
Cobalt, the essential ingredient in the production of lithium-ion batteries for telephone and other gadgets, has seen its prices skyrocketed of late due to an expected growth in demand for electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries.
Apple is said to be securing contracts for the supply of several thousand metric tons of cobalt each year for five years or more. Other companies like BMW, Volkswagen, and Samsung are also aiming to secure multi-year contracts for supplies of the raw material to produce electric vehicles.
According to report by Amnesty International in 2016, close 60 percent of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo mined by approximately 20 percent under-aged children with hand.
Apple has increased its engagement with cobalt miners in recent years due to scrutiny from international human rights organizations.
It can be recalled that in March 2017, Apple announced that it would stop buying hand-mined cobalt in the Congo following reports of child labor and dangerous work conditions. To show its commitment, the iPhone maker has worked closely with China-based cobalt supplier Huayou Cobalt to address child labor in its supply chain.
The Bloomberg report said Apple was not immediately available for comment outside regular business hours.