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EVs to require 314,000 mt of cobalt by 2030: Glencore CEO

New York — Electric vehicles will require 314,000 mt of cobalt by 2030, representing314% of global 2016 supply, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said during aninvestors' conference call Tuesday.

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"It is clear electric vehicles will be a disruptive force to the world,"Glasenberg said, and the mining industry would have to produce the metalsrequired, including cobalt, for EV development.

But, he said, much higher prices would be needed to "incentivize the nextgeneration of mine projects to feed into this large increase in demand webelieve is sitting around the corner."

Glasenberg was quoting from a study Glencore commissioned fromconsultants CRU on EV-related metals demand across the supply chain, includinggeneration, grid infrastructure, storage, charging and the vehiclesthemselves, in his remarks on projected cobalt demand for EVs by 2030.

The study also said EVs would require around 4.1 million mt of copper,representing 18% of 2016 global supply, for use in generation, gridinfrastructure, grid storage and charging infrastructure. And EVs also wouldrequire around 1.1 million mt of nickel by 2030, representing 56% of 2016global supply.

He said the world would not be able to rely on the Democratic Republic ofCongo to provide that quantity of cobalt, which would mean recycling wouldhave to play a much bigger role.

While Glencore, ERG and other producers had potential resources, theworld "will have to find a better solution than relying on 300,000 [metric] tons of cobalt to come from the DRC."

And he warned that, in the near term, an unfavorable mining code coulddiscourage mining investment in the country. "The mining code in the DRC couldhave a detrimental impact, as well as deferring much-needed foreigninvestments required in the country," he said. "The concerns of the miningindustry have been raised and we hope the government of the DRC will engagewith the industry [to find a solution]."

But, in the near term, by 2020, forecast EV-related cobalt demand wouldbe realized if Glencore achieved its production targets. In a slidepresentation, Glencore said EVs would require an additional 390,000 mt ofcopper by 2020, 85,000 mt of nickel and 24,000 mt of cobalt.

Katanga Mining, a Glencore subsidiary, announced the hot-commissioning ofits the first part of its whole-ore leach plant at its Kamoto copper andcobalt mine in Lualaba province Monday.

This unit is expected to produce 150,000 mt of copper cathode in 2018 and11,000 mt of cobalt, rising to 300,000 mt of copper in 209 and 34,000 mt ofcobalt in 2019. It is projecting 2020 output of 300,000 mt of copper and32,000 mt of cobalt.

--Anthony Poole, anthony.poole@spglobal.com

--Edited by Valarie Jackson, valarie.jackson@spglobal.com