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Glencore ups ante on responsible cobalt, extends GEM supply deal


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Glencore ups ante on responsible cobalt, extends GEM supply deal


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New York — Diversified natural resources company Glencore and China's GEM have extended their partnership on the supply of cobalt hydroxide by another five years and have formally embedded responsible sourcing and sustainability into it.

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In a statement published Dec. 3 Glencore said that under the terms of the agreement, it would provide around 150,000 mt of cobalt contained in hydroxide for GEM between 2020 and 2029.

Glencore and GEM are committing each other to annual audits under OECD-aligned standards, specifically, the Cobalt Refiner Supply Chain Due Diligence Standard developed by the Responsible Minerals Initiative, Responsible Cobalt Initiative and Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals and Chemicals Importers and Exporters.

"This shared commitment will help to demonstrate strong responsible sourcing practices and transparency across multiple points along the supply chain," the statement read.

The Cobalt Institute, of which Glencore is a member, has developed the Cobalt Industry Responsible Assessment Framework (CIRAF), an industry-wide risk management tool that helps those in the cobalt supply chain identify production and sourcing related risks. This long-term strategic cobalt partnership includes a commitment to use CIRAF when communicating publicly on environmental and social issues specific to the cobalt supply chain.

GEM Chairman Xu Kai Hua said that, despite the pandemic, "the adoption of new energy vehicles is accelerating, and there is no doubt that they are revolutionizing the world's automobile industry. As a result, cobalt, as one of the key raw materials for EV batteries, will become a global strategic resource of extreme importance for the rapidly growing new energy vehicles market in China and the rest of the world."

Head of marketing, copper and cobalt at Glencore, Nico Paraskevas added: "Long-term security of cobalt supply and cobalt demand visibility are critical to prevent supply shortages that could impede the energy transition and, ultimately, the world's ability to meet climate change targets. As the cobalt supply chain matures with greater emphasis on long term partnerships, this contract is just one example of Glencore and its customers working together towards the adoption of industry leading standards on responsible sourcing and environmental and social corporate governance."