Glencore joins Fair Cobalt Alliance

Switzerland-based miner Glencore has joined the Fair Cobalt Alliance in support of the group’s efforts to eliminate child and forced labour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sector.
Glencore joins Fair Cobalt Alliance Glencore joins Fair Cobalt Alliance Glencore joins Fair Cobalt Alliance Glencore joins Fair Cobalt Alliance Glencore joins Fair Cobalt Alliance

The miner noted that as an industrial miner it does not process, buy or trade ASM materials, but said the artisanal sector was a significant employer in the DRC and played "an important and sustainable" role in the economy.

Some 60% of the world's cobalt is sourced from the DRC, and ASM employs about 2 million people in the country.

"Glencore, through our support of the Fair Cobalt Alliance, will support legitimate ASM cooperatives in their endeavours to transform their practices and align with international human rights practices, especially in the prevention of child labour," it said in a statement.

Glencore continued: "As the world calls for more cobalt and copper to power the energy and transport revolutions, the demand for these vital everyday commodities will underline the global importance of the DRC. It is crucial that all supply chains, including both cobalt and copper, are sustainable, ethical, and responsible."

Electric vehicle heavyweight Tesla secured a cobalt deal with Glencore in June for lithium-ion batteries produced at its plant in Shanghai and a planned Gigafactory in Berlin. This deal may involve up to 6,000 tonnes per year, according to multiple media reports.

In February it also signed a five-year agreement to supply battery-maker Samsung SDI with cobalt hydroxide, from its operations in the DRC.

Huayou Cobalt, China's largest cobalt refiner, which supplies carmakers including Volvo Cars and Volkswagen, last week announced a halt to cobalt purchases over similar human-rights concerns.

Glencore mothballed its Mutanda copper-cobalt mine in the DRC in 2019 primarily due to low cobalt prices.