LORD COPPER: Corporations have the power to force cobalt supply chain reform

Lithium mostly hits the headlines in debate about increasing battery production, but it’s probably not presently the mineral that worries the industry most. That distinction likely goes to cobalt, for a few reasons.

It is - with today’s technology - a vital part of lithium-ion batteries, which are those used in smartphones, laptops and other devices, including, importantly, the current generation of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. The problem with cobalt is that the designers of the planet chose to put lots of it in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and make it a by-product of (mainly) copper and nickel. That was very unhelpful of them, and creates issues that should concern all of us. Mining is a dirty, hard, physical business, wherever it happens. But in most places, it’s reasonably well regulated, these days. For sure, being a child coal miner in the United Kingdom in the 18th or 19th century was a hellish existence, but (rather like the UK’s coal mines) that’s in the...

Published

Lord Copper

March 19, 2018

11:38 GMT

London