Apple wants to buy crucial iPhone battery metal direct from miners

iPhone X laying down
Apple has a plan to help it sidestep a potential shortage of
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is
reportedly in talks to buy the cobalt used in its iPhone
batteries directly from miners for the first time.

This would mark a major change
since Apple, one of the world’s largest end users of cobalt
supplies, has previously left the purchasing of the metal
down to the companies which build its batteries. It’s a smart
move that could help prioritize Apple in the event of a major
cobalt shortage.

people fear that cobalt will become even more sought after if
the increase in demand for batteries (for things like
electric vehicles) causes a worldwide shortage. The price of
cobalt has reportedly more than tripled in the past 18 months
to more than $80,000 per metric ton.

smartphone battery requires only around 8 grams of refined
cobalt, but these numbers add up when you take into account
just how many iPhones and iPads Apple builds.

Apple is
reportedly looking to sign contracts that will allow it to
secure thousands of metrics tons of cobalt per year for five
years or longer. Apple first held discussions with miners about
this subject a year ago, but decided not to proceed at that
time for unknown reasons.


Last year
was the first time that Apple addressed the subject of cobalt
production in its Supplier
, and specifically published a list of the
companies which supplied the material used in its batteries.
As it noted:

“Apple’s responsible sourcing efforts expanded beyond
conflict minerals to include cobalt for the first time. For
the second year in a row, 100% of Apple’s tin, tungsten,
tantalum, and gold (3TG) smelters and refiners are
participating in independent third-party audits. Apple has
also partnered with numerous NGOs to drive positive change
on the ground, including Pact who are working to provide
essential health and safety training to artisanal mining,
and are building programs to help children stay in



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